Macrodiplax cora (Brauer, 1867)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Macrodiplax cora
Common Name: Coastal Glider

Macrodiplax cora is a common dragonfly species which is found at reclaimed land, reservoirs and coastal areas. In Singapore, I have seen this species at MacRitchie Reservoir, Upper Seletar Reservoir, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, and Upper Peirce Reservoir.

Adult male Macrodiplax cora is a medium-sized dragonfly with a body length of 43mm. It has large head and dark brown thorax.  Both sexes has a distinctive thick dark broken line along the dorsum of the abdomen.

Female is light orange-yellow on thorax and abdomen.Immature male resemble female in colors. The wings are clear except for a yellowish patch at the base of the hind wing.

This species perches on the tip of twigs or branches along edges of the reservoirs.


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A young male rest on the tip of plant branches along the reservoir.
Macrodiplax cora-4
Dark thick broken lines along the abdomen is it’s distinguishing feature.
Macrodiplax cora-7
Another but slightly older male.


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Young female with orange-yellow coloration on the thorax and abdomen.
Macrodiplax cora-3
Similarly to male, she has dark broken lines along the abdomen.
Macrodiplax cora-6
This female embarks a vertical obelisk posture under the hot midday sun.

Macrodiplax cora may be a migratory species and has been known to be salt-tolerant.


Death of a Orthetrum chrysis duo

Two male Orthetrum chrysis was seen caught in the submerged mosses and drowned. What causes this to happen? My guess is that they were rival males, chasing one another in territory fight and accidentally got caught and entangled by the submerged vegetation. A sad demise for the voracious killer.

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Diplacodes trivialis (Rambur, 1842)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Diplacodes trivialis
Common Name: Blue Percher

This small species of dragonfly is one of the more common dragonfly that can be found in Singapore. It frequents open marshes in disturbed areas, wastelands, and fringes of the forest reserves. This species sometimes wonder far from the water source.

I found this species to be quite common along the bicycle track near Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, at the open grassland at Chestnut Avenue, at the old Kanji Nature trail, and even at the Garden by the Bay.

The male is blue in colour and as it matures, pruinose develops, and it becomes powdery blue in colour. The abdomen segment 9 to 10 is black and the anal appendages is white. It has blue eyes.

A lateral view of the male. This individual is heavily pruinosed.
Eyes are blue and the whole body is powdery blue in colour.
Last two segments of the abdomen is black and anal appendages is white as seen here.
Same male as above.

Female has pale green yellowish markings on it’s black body. The eyes are brownish on top and yellow below. Young females are more yellowish in colour.

An adult female with greenish yellow eyes.
Another female in lateral view.
Same female as above.
This is a slightly younger female. The thorax is more yellowish.
Dorsal view of the above female. There are brown patches at the base of the wings.
This is a very young female.

This species often flies horizontally and very near to the ground. They are skittish and sensitive to any movements in the surrounding. Not an easy species to approach.


Scarlet Pygmy – Singapore’s smallest dragonfly

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Nannophya pygmaea
Common Name: Scarlet Pygmy

This small dragonfly can be found in most habitats that are close to water, such as wetlands, swamps, and small streams. They prefer opened and exposed vegetation near to water with adequate sunlight.

Here are some shots of male, female and immature male.

“Red Chili”- Adult male.
Adult Male.
Immature Male.
Immature Male.
Immature Male.
Immature Male.
A mating pair.

Brachythemis contaminata (Fabricius, 1793)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Brachythemis contaminata
Common Name: Common Amberwing

Brachythemis contaminata is a common species in Singapore. It can be found in many places in Singapore such as open ponds, reservoirs, both in urban areas as well as nature reserves. I have come into contact this species at Toa Payoh Town Park, Singapore Botanic Garden, Gardens by the Bay, and Kranji Reservoir.

Adult males has wings that are tinted with deep amber and have orange veins and pterostigmata. The abdomen is in deep orange. Immature male is light brown with yellowish pterostigmata. Female is very similar to the immature male. It has wings that are clear, and yellowish brown thorax and abdomen.

This species can tolerate a certain amount of polluted waters. They are a sun-loving species which are active all day until after sunset.

Adult male
Immature male
Immature male
Immature male

Orchithemis pulcherrima Brauer, 1878 (Red Form, Male & Female)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Orchithemis pulcherrima
Common Name: Variable Sentinel

Orchithemis pulcherrima is a common dragonfly which inhabits swampy forests within the nature reserves. It can be found usually under heavily shaded forest reserves in MacRitchie Reservoir, Upper Pierce Reservoir, Upper Seletar Reservoir, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and many other forested reserves.

This is a narrow winged species. The abdomen is broad and tapers towards the tip. Male has two colour forms. Red form with and without white markings and dark form with pale markings near it’s base. The genitalia on the ventral side of segment 2 of the male is very prominent.

This is the red form without white markings which is very common.

This male individual has a yellowish thorax which is quite distinct.

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This male has a dark reddish abdomen with white markings at base of abdomen. This form is not normally seen.

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Female with red abdomen is rare. I have seen this female form only three times in Singapore.



Orthetrum glaucum (Brauer, 1865)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Orthetrum glaucum
Common Name: Common Blue Skimmer

A common species that can be easily found near degraded forested habitats within and outside nature reserves in Singapore. I have seen this species at many locations especially within the forest fringes at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Chestnut Avenue Forest, Upper Seletar Reservoir Park and many other places.

They can be found at or near water sources such as ditches, ponds, small streams and rivers, resting on boulders, tree branches and leaves. Sometimes they are found far away from any water bodies especially at fringes of the forests, and wastelands.

The male has bluish green eyes. The thorax is generally dark blue and abdomen is lighter blue with the last two segments darken. Younger male has a lighter brownish colour. Female is light brown with greyish green eyes. Both aged male and female developed pruinosed over their bodies which are covered with powdery blue colouration.

Immature male
Young male
Adult male
Older male
Immature female
Adult female
Adult female
Older female
Older female
Older female
Older female
Older female
Older female

A snapshot of various copula taken on various occasions.

* more pictures at photo index!


Agriocnemis femina (Bauer, 1868)

Family: Coenagrionidae
Scientific Name: Agriocnemis femina
Common Name: Common Wisp

This is a very small damselfly with a wing span of only 9-10 mm. It is a relatively common and widespread species of damselfly in Singapore. It can be found in grassy areas with water bodies such as ponds, lakes, streams, and drains. So far, I have seen this species at Toa Payoh Town Park, Chestnut Forest Trail, Mandai Forest, MacRitchie Nature Reserve, and Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve.

Due to it’s size, this tiny damselfly has often been overlook by photographer. Both males and females developed various colour forms¬† from very young to adult maturity.

Young males are green with black strips on the dorsum and orange tips. Older males developed pruinosed white to it’s thorax. In males, the inferior appendages is longer than the superior appendages, a distinguishing feature of this species.

Young male
Slightly matured male with slight pruinosed white on it’s thorax.
Older male with more extensive pruinosed white and darker red on it’s abdominal tips.
Older male – the last few segments on the abdominal turned to darker black.
Very old pruinosed white male.

Young females are cherry red, then develop into bright green with light brown on it’s thorax. Older females are generally olive with darker brown markings.

A teneral female taken at Chestnut forest trail.
A cherry red immatured female – taken at Toa Payoh Town Park.
A young female.
A slightly older female.
Matured female. Females also developed pruinosed on it’s thorax.
A mating pair, taken at the fresh water pond at Sungei Buloh Nature Reserve.
A matured male fall prey to a lynx spider.

A. femina is one of the most abundant Agriocnemis species that occurred in Singapore. The other two species are A.nana, and A. pygmaea.


Brachydiplax chalybea Brauer, 1868

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Brachydiplax chalybea
Common Name: Blue Dasher

Brachydilpax Chalybea is a relatively small dragonfly from the family of Libellulidae, a species which is very common and wide spread in Singapore. It usually inhibits ponds, streams, and some disturbed areas outside the nature reserves. Female is less common and may appear only when mating.

The male of this dragonfly has a powdery blue thorax with light to brown patches. The abdomen is also powdery blue with the last three segments dark in colour. It also has a dark yellowish tint at the base of it’s wings. Female is generally similar in size but has more orangey body and dark markings along the dorsum of the abdomen. Unlike male, female has clear wing base.

Males are often territorial and are very active in the morning and early afternoon. This species is very similar to Aethriamanta gracilis, but the latter species is smaller in size and has a wider wing venation. It is also quite similar to Raphismia bispina, which is rare in Singapore and inhabits only at mangrove swamps.

Male – lateral view.
Male – dorsal view

Female of this species is more attractive, and less common.

Female – Very orangey in colour
Female – doral view showing the dark markings at the abdomen

Orthetrum chrysis (Selys, 1891)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Orthetrum chrysis
Common Name: Spine-tufted Skimmer

This dragonfly is very common in ponds, drains, in both nature reserves, parks and other disturbed wastelands.

The male’s eyes are dark grey, thorax is dark brown, abdomen is red. Male has a distinct curved tuft of setae at Segment two of the abdomen. Female is reddish brown with obscure markings.

Mating pair
Mating pair
Another mating pair where male hold on tightly on the female as though the female is reluctant to mate
A male with his catch