Camacinia gigantea (Brauer, 1867)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Camacinia gigantea
Common Name: Sultan

Camacinia gigantea is a large and rare dragonfly which inhabits large ponds, lakes and reservoirs. Although rare, it can be quite common locally especially near edges of forest reserves. I have seen this species at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Chestnut Avenue Forests, Mandai Forests.

This is possibly the largest dragonfly in the Libellulidae family.

The male has a dark red thorax, abdomen, and the red patches also cover about 2/3 of the wings. It is not uncommon to see several males fly rapidly over stagnant ponds or forest pools, often engage in territorial fight. They prefer to hang vertically at their favourite perch and ward off intruders.

Matured male -1
Matured male -2
Maturing male – some yellow patches can still be seen on the wings.
Young male with brilliant red.
Immature males are yellowish in colour.
Dorsal view – note the pattern on the male’s wings.

Female is slightly stouter and larger than the male. The wings and body are pale brownish in colour. Aged female can appear to be dark red as in males. Female is rarer and often not sighted. They appear only when mating and ovipositing.

At a glance, this female appear to look like a male. However, the abdomen is thicker and the female anal appendages is clearly seen.
Another female. Note the slightly yellowish on the red patches wings.
Aged female with brownish thorax, and reddish wings.

I used to see this species at a drainage concrete structure at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. However, the sighting of this species is less common now after the vegetation was cleared from the water-logged structure.


Anax guttatus (Burmeister, 1839)

Family: Aeshnidae (Hawkers)
Scientific Name: Anax guttatus
Common Name: Emperor

Female Anax guttatus

Anax guttatus is a large and robust dragonfly that is not often sighted in Singapore. It is a very fast and strong flyer, often seen patrolling at large open ponds and reservoirs. In Singapore, I have seen this species at USR, MacRitchie Reservoir, and Bukit Timah Nature Reservoir.

The thorax is lime green. There is prominent blue markings at the second and third abdominal segments. The sides of the abdomen has a strong orange-spotted pattern.

Dorsal view showing strong blue markings and spotted abdomen
A very colourful species
thorax is lime green and unmark
Female anal appendages is short and intact
No T-shape mark on the fron. Hyaline wings, and dark legs
close-up of anal appendages

Sometimes, female can be found ovipositing on floating vegetation at ponds or edge of the reservoir by inserting eggs into plant tissues. This is done by making a small slit on the plant tissues using it’s ovipositor.

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The above female was ovipositing on to plant tissues at a water-logged drainage structure at BTNR.


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!


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.

Male - Head shot
Male – Head shot

Vestalis amethystina Lieftinck, 1965

Family: Calopterygidae
Scientific Name: Vestalis amethystina
Common Name: Common Flashwing

This is a relatively large damselfly, the total body length is about 50-56mm and commonly found near forest streams at Central Catchment Nature Reserves and Bukit Timah Nature Reserves. So far, I have seen this species at MacRitchie reservoir -along the board walk, Upper Seletar Reservoir, Upper Pierce Reservoir, Chestnut Ave forest, and Dairy Farm Nature Reserves.

Males and females look quite alike, the main difference is their anal appendages. Both has metallic green body with very long and thin legs.  It has a pair of transparent wings which show off a sparkling bluish purple iridescence from reflection from the light.


This species tend to occur on smaller streams in the primary forests.

Cratilla metallica Brauer, 1878

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Cratilla metallica
Common Name: Dark-tipped Forest-skimmer

These are moderately large dragonflies which are commonly found in closed forests in the nature reserve. Males have dark wing-tips and blue colour markings on the 3rd and 4th segments of the abdomen.

Females are larger with a shining, metallic blue thorax and abdomen, but without the blue colour markings.

Male - side view
Male – side view
A pair in intimate position.
A pair in intimate position.

Males like to perch for prolong period on twigs above forest pools. Females are not as commonly seen as males. A mating pair as seen in the above picture is rare.