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Heliogomphus kelantanensis (Laidlaw, 1902)

Family: Gomphidae
Scientific Name: Heliogomphus kelantanensis
Common Name: Malayan Grappletail

The Malayan Grappletail has turned up again in the CCNR of Singapore in July 2016. I have seen this very species of gomphid almost every year at the same spot at one of the streams in the Nature Reserve.

Normally I have seen at least two males individual hanging within the vicinity of the slow flowing stream, but this time round, I have only encounter a single male.

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This is a small gomphid. Total body length is only about 37mm. It is endemic to P.Malaysia & Singapore.
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It has bluish green eyes, olive green thorax and dark abdomen.
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My favourite gomphid species. It is very rewarding to be able to capture this species not withstanding the long and tiring trip in the nature reserve.
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Dorsal view of this male. It has clear wings and very unique anal appendages.

This species is one of the easiest gomphid species to photograph as it will tend to stay patiently at it’s favourite perch. Even if it’s disturbed, it will fly to a nearby perch and will stay for long period of time.

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Paragomphus capricornis enjoying sunbath in the grassland

Family: Gomphidae
Scientific Name: Paragomphus capricornis
Common Name: Banded Hooktail

Banded hooktail is a rare gomphid in Singapore. It inhabits clear streams with gravel bottom in open forest. Male prefer to perch on logs and stones in mid-stream.

These hooktails, both males and females, prefer to perch on twigs and wild flowers in the grassland under the hot sun. Sometimes they would raise their abdomen in an obelisk posture to minimise their body exposure to the sun.

Here are some shots taken recently at their favourite grassland.

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A male – notice the hook-like superior appendages, is resting on a dried bidens flower.
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This male is resting on a twig. This is where they rest and feast on small flying insects.
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A closer shot of the same male.
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Another shot.
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Another male.
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They are not very skittish. Once disturbed, they would usually fly to a nearby perch.
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A frontal shot.
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A female which perch with her abdomen slightly raised. Wings pointed down.
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A closer shot.
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A lateral shot of the female.
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Macrogomphus quadratus – the large green-eye gomphid!

Family: Gomphidae
Scientific Name: Macrogomphus quadratus
Common Name: Forktail

Macrogomphus quadratus is undeniably a large and ferocious-looking gomphid which frequent slow flowing streams in the Central Catchment Area, such as Upper Seletar Reservoir, MacRitchie Reservoir and NSSF.

Here are a couple of shots of both male and female captured during a recent trip to the Central Nature Reserve.

Male
Male
Female
Female
Female
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Banded Hooktail (Paragomphus capricornis, Förster, 1914)

Banded hooktail is a common dragonfly species in South East Asia but is certainly not common in Singapore. It is a very localized dragonfly and can only be found at very few places in Singapore. I have regularly seen this species in an open grassland at the northern part of Singapore.

This species like to perch on twigs on bright sunny days. I have seen both males and females foraging at the same locality but have yet to see a mating pair. They are not shy as long as you keep a safety distance. I have seen them hunting and consuming small insects and on one occasion, I have seen one male being eaten by a larger dragonfly, the variegated green skimmer ( Orthetrum sabina).

This is certainly a very beautiful species of smaller gomphid dragonfly.

Female and male banded hooktail basking on twigs on mid afternoon.
Female and male banded hooktail basking on twigs in mid afternoon.
Female
Female
Male
Male
A male eating a small insect.
A male eating a small insect.
A male basking in hot sun.
A male basking in hot sun.
An unlucky male, being fallen prey to a variegated green skimmer dragonfly.
An unlucky male, being fallen prey to a variegated green skimmer dragonfly.
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Leptogomphus risi Laidlaw, 1933 – male

Family: Gomphidae
Scientific Name: Leptogomphus risi
Common Name: Ris’Clubtail

On May 03, 2014, I chanced upon a very rare gomphid, the very elusive leptogomphus risi, at the small stream at Dairy Farm Nature Reserve. This is a male specimen which so far, has only been recorded once in the forest at Rifle Range Road on 7th of March 2004, mentioned in Tang’s book of Singapore Dragonflies.

The male was resting on top of a fern plant very close to the stream. It is a small stream with slow flowing running water, deep in the heavily shaded forest in the Nature Reserves. This was my first sighting of a gomphid species at that part of the nature reserves.

It was regretted that I only have a few long distance shots of this male due to the fact that I only have my 100mm macro lens on hand and the dragonfly was actually perching very near to the stream while I was standing on an elevated ground of at least 2-3 metres away from the stream. After having taken a few long distance shots, I decided to go down to the stream for a closer look but on my way down, my movements frightened the dragonfly and it disappeared soon after.

I hope this dragonfly is still at the vicinity and I will try my luck again next time.

 

This shows how small it is from where I took this long distance shots.
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Leptogomphus risi Laidlaw, 1933 – female

Family: Gomphidae
Scientific Name: Leptogomphus risi
Common Name: Ris’Clubtail

This species of medium-size gomphid is very rare in Singapore. As stated in the book of “Dragonflies of Singapore”, so far, only a single male has been recorded in Singapore on 7th March 2004. This species is said to be found in Malaysia, southern Thailand and Singapore, where it inhibits lowland swamp forests.

On 23rd June 2013, my friends and I were at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve where we found a single female individual of this species resting on a fern leaf at the nearby stream.

This species is recognised by very slender abdomen which are predominantly black. There are two yellow stripes on the dorsal side of the thorax. Eyes are green and some yellow markings on the face.

The dorsal side of the thorax showing clearly the two yellow stripes which are almost parallel, as shown above.

Another lateral shot of the same female.

The “face”shot with distinct yellow markings.

Incidentally, another teneral female of the Leptogomphus risi was collected recently on 10th April 2013 at the stream at Venus trial. Read the interesting article HERE.

Paragomphus capricornis (Fӧrster, 1914)

Family: Gomphidae
Scientific Name: Paragomphus capricornis
Common Name: Banded Hooktail

Banded hooktail is a small gomphid which is rare in Singapore. It was known to exist in certain places in Singapore such as the Nee Soon Swamp Forest and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. Of my three years of photographing dragonflies, this was the first time I have come across this species at a restricted area at the Western part of Singapore.

The male and female of this species is very similar. It has dark green to black eyes, very stout body, with yellow stripes at the side of the dorsum and abdomen. The male has a unique shaped superior appendages that look like a scimitar.

I was lucky to spot both a male and a female at an open grassland in a hot sunny day. Not far away, another female was spotted near to the water body and on my way out, another male was spotted at another location. This species is known to breed in sandy running streams and it was not uncommon to find it at this location.

A male bends it’s abdomen showing it’s unique -shaped Scimitar appendages
A female basking in a hot sunny day
Another male found a short distance away from the female

Heliogomphus kelantanensis, Laidlaw 1902, Female

Family: Gomphidae
Scientific Name: Heliogomphus kelantanensis
Common Name: Malayan Grappletail

Female of Heliogomphus kelantanensis is extremely rare and the general appearance is similar to that of the male. It has uniform olive green sides to the thorax and the side of the abdomen has a series of yellow markings. It is with extreme luck that we found two female individuals at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve in June 2013. The first female was found about 100 metres away from the forest streams. She was resting on a small leaf by the side of the forest trail, perhaps waiting for the right timing to mate with the male nearby the streams. The second female was found nearer to the other streams deeper into the trail.

According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) 2013, the only record of the female of this species is by Lieftinck , 1932 who described the larva based on a female, presumably reared to adulthood. the female had not been described previously.

It is hope this species could continue to survive in our nature reserves.

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Female-1
Female-1
Female-1
Female-2
Female-2
Female-2
Female-2
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Heliogomphus kelantanensis, Laidlaw 1902, Male

Family: Gomphidae
Scientific Name: Heliogomphus kelantanensis
Common Name: Malayan Grappletail

According to the book “Dragonfly of Singapore””, H. kelantanensis has been recorded only four times in Singapore. In year 2011, I was extremely lucky to found one male species in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. This is a very rare gomphid which inhibit clear forest streams in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, and is endemic to P. Malaysia and Singapore.

This species has bluish-green eyes. The thorax is uniform olive green with some green markings on the dorsum.  The male abdomen is black and the anal appendages is dark and short.

Male Malayan Grappletail perched patiently on twig above forest stream in the Nature Reserve
Dorsal view of the male.
Dorsal view of the male.
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Macrogomphus quadratus Selys, 1878

Family: Gomphidae
Scientific Name: Macrogomphus quadratus
Common Name: Forktail

Macrogomphus quadratus is a large Gomphid. The total body length of this dragonfly is between 72mm-80mm. It frequents swampy and sluggish forest streams in the Central Catchment Nature Reserves.

The eyes are dark green in young adults, and black in older adults. The front part of the thorax has a large squarish yellow patch. Abdomen is covered with yellow rings around the segment 2-7. Female and Male looks similar.

Forktail is uncommon but not rare at the Central Catchment Nature Reserves. It is active during the day, normally seen perching on low twigs or branches.

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Male
Male
Male
Male - Head shot
Male – Head shot
Female
Female
Female
Female