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Gynacantha subinterrupta – female ovipositing!!

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha subinterrupta
Common Name: Dingy Duskhawker

This female Gynacantha subinterrupta oviposits by touching the surface of a substrate, in this case, soil and lay her eggs and flying to another spot repeating the same action.

See the female in Action!

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The forest floor is littered with fallen leaves, seeds, tree trunk and branches. A great spot for the female to lay her eggs. The whole place will be flooded when the rain comes.
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A side profile of her in action.
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The shot is taken under very dim lighting. She chose a spot underneath a fallen tree trunk.
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Curling up her abdomen and oviposits into the soil substrate.

 

She did her egg’s laying all by herself. No male is seen guarding her when she oviposits. This place is flooded the next day after a torrential rain.

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Gynacantha basiguttata – female ovipositing.

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha basiguttata
Common Name: Spoon-tailed Duskhawker

Encountering a rare female Gynacantha basiguttata was lucky enough, let alone a female which oviposit at a forest pool in the secondary forest near Mandai. It was around 10 plus in the morning when I arrived. The forest pool was almost dried up after days of dry weather. It was flooded with fallen leaves and broken branches. Although it was without any trace of water, the soil was quite damp.

This female suddenly appears and starts to oviposit on the damp soil. she spent quite awhile surveying the area and looking for suitable spots. She will hang around at a particular spot for awhile, lay her eggs and then move on to another spot.

The dried up forest pool is quite big, about the size of a basket ball court. From far, the female has already started ovipositing her eggs.
A tiny speck of green amongst a sea of fallen leaves.

She randomly chose her breeding spots, which include decayed leaves, damp soil and rotten logs.

I think that is a heavily rotten tree trunk where she is ovipositing on.
Dorsal view. See how she stretch out her abdomen.
Another closer dorsal view shot – she is oblivious to my presence.
Frontal view with two large greenish eyes. Dorsum and both sides of the thorax is greenish too.
A solitary male was seen resting at the nearby branch.

This place is indeed a perfect breeding place for the forest-dwelling duskhawkers.

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Gynacantha basiguttata Selys, 1882

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha basiguttata
Common Name: Spoon-tailed Duskhawker

 

A rare, large, greenish hawker species of dragonfly that is not often seen in Singapore, Gynacantha basiguttata or spoon-tailed Duskhawker largely inhibits swampy and leafy-bottom pools in the nature reserves and secondary forests. I have encountered this species many times at a particular spot of forest pools in the secondary forest off Mandai area.

It is a large forest leafy-bottomed pool, guarded by several male individuals, each guarding it’s own territory. Each male will chase away other rival males, and will try to mate with the female once she descends to the pool to mate. The pools is also a breeding ground for other hawker species, such as the spear-tailed duskhawher and Dingy Duskhawker.

This species is quite easy to recognise in the field, as it is really quite a large dragonfly species. The wings are clear with a deep brown patch at the base. The eyes are big and greenish. The thorax is generally green and legs are black. The male abdomen is slim with transverse greenish flecks. The most distinguishing feature is it’s two spoon-shaped anal appendages. These superior appendages are covered with an inner tuft of hairs.

Male – dorsal view. Male will generally hang lowly and vertically on twig, roots or tree trunk in the day, like this individual.
Male – side view. They will stay motionlessly as long as they are not disturb by other rival males. Once they are challenged by other males, they will chase them far away and return to the same perch.
Close-up of the male”s superior appendages.

Females are generally similar to males, except is slightly larger, and not often encountered.

Female individual with the appendages broken-off. They are similar to the males, except slightly larger and rarer.
Clearer view of the underside.

I am lucky at one of the outing where I encountered a mating pair.

My only shot of a mating pair. This photo is taken in a heavily dense forest environment and they do perch quite high up.

This forest pool in the secondary forest will eventually dried up during the dry season and the dried up soil is the place where the females oviposit their eggs.

Watch out for my next post!

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Tetracanthagyna plagiata (Waterhouse, 1877)

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Tetracanthagyna plagiata
Common Name: Giant Hawker

 

T. plagiata was one of my wish list of rare dragonflies that I hope to see in the nature reserves. Although I have managed to capture a glimpse of it a couple of times in the nature reserves, I just couldn’t managed to captured it with my camera.

It was not until 30th March 2014, when I have a close encountered with this rare species at the most unexpected place in the North Western part of Singapore.

Quoted from the book of Dragonflies of Singapore by Mr. Tang, T.plagiata is rarely seen in Singapore. The oldest record dates back to the end of 19th century or the first few years of the 20th century. In the 1990s, it was observed in Nee Soon Swamp Forest. Other known sites where it was seen include Venue Drive near MacRitchie Reservoir, and Upper Pierce Reservoir.

I was at a small stream at a location outside the Central Catchment Nature Reserve when I encountered this female giant hawker. She was flying continuously along the stream looking for suitable spots to lay her eggs.

When I first seen her, she was ovipositing on the fallen wood besides the stream.
When I first seen her, she was ovipositing on the fallen wood besides the stream.
Moving a bit closer, she was still at the same spot.
Moving a bit closer, she was still at the same spot.
Moving in more closer, finally, I have a close-up view of this rare giant hawker. She was trying to lay her eggs continuously over a small area.
Moving in more closer, finally, I have a close-up view of this rare giant hawker. She was trying to lay her eggs continuously over a small area.
After a few rounds of ovipositing, she flew to a slightly dense vegetation and rest on a small branch not far from the stream.
After a few rounds of ovipositing, she flew to a slightly dense vegetation and rest on a small branch not far from the stream.
She flew down to the stream and rest on a vertical branch very near to the stream. On the edge of the stream, I managed to take this close-up shot.
She flew down to the stream and rest on a vertical branch very near to the stream. On the edge of the stream, I managed to take this close-up shot.
After enough resting, she moved to another spot and continue laying her eggs. She did this many times.
After enough resting, she moved to another spot and continue laying her eggs.
She did this many times.

The general appearance of this species is a very big black dragonfly with huge wings. The wing-span of a female could be up to 165mm accordingly to the book of dragonflies of Singapore. The head is reddish brown. The thorax is entirely dark. The side of the thorax has broad pale lateral bands. The abdomen is reddish brown cylindrical and tapering to the tip. There is black transverse patches near the wing tips.

I am glad that this species of largest dragonfly of South East Asia is surviving well in our small island. I hope they will continue to thrive in our nature reserves.

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Gynacantha subinterrupta Rambur, 1842 (Male-2)

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha subinterrupta
Common Name: Dingy Duskhawker

In one of my previous post, here, I have posted a photograph of a male Gynacantha subinterrupta, which I believed is a young adult male. Here I will continue my post of this awesome species in their adult coloured form as well as some of the female photos.

Adult Male
Adult Male
Adult Male - Side View
Adult Male – Side View
A slightly younger adult male
A slightly younger adult male
The colour of this male is duller which I think should be an immature male
The colour of this male is duller which I think should be an immature male
A Female
A Female
Another Female - Side Profile
Another Female – Side Profile