Gynacantha dohrni Krüger, 1899

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha dohrni
Common Name: Spear-tail Duskhawker

Spear-tailed duskhawker is a widespread but uncommon species of fairly large dragonfly which can be found in many swampy forested areas around the Central Catchment Nature Reserve, Bukit Timah Nature Reserves as well as in the secondary forests of Mandai, Kranji and Chestnut area.

It is a species that prefers  dense and dark forest undergrowth, often around the vicinity of forest pools or streams where it hides in the shade and perch motionlessly on vertical twig during the day. It becomes active at dusk.

Male has green eyes and thorax. The auricles on the side of the 2nd abdominal segment are bright blue. It has a T-shaped marking on the top of the fron. Wings are mainly clear. Abdomen is dark with flecks of green markings. Male’s superior appendages are spear-shaped towards the tip, while the inferior appendage is short and pale in color.

Females generally are quite similar to males in term of color and markings. The wings are rounder and the appendages are often broken off due to mating or ovipositing. Females are found to breed in forest pools and sometimes they even ovipositing their eggs into rock, or mud crevices, from my observation.

Gynacantha dohrni_2
This fully matured male has greenish eyes, green thorax  and bright blue auricles.
Gynacantha dohrni_3
Female is much duller in coloration. This female has it’s anal appendages intact.
Gynacantha dohrni_4
Another male in lateral view. It likes to hang out in the forest where there are water sources.
Gynacantha dohrni_5
Another female where both of her anal appendages are broken-off. There were mud stain on the abdomen and anal appendages which is a clear indication that she has been ovipositing in the mud or muddy pool.
Gynacantha dohrni_6
A rare sighting of a mating pair in action.
Gynacantha dohrni_7
View from a different angle.
Gynacantha dohrni_8
View from the side. The mating took quite a while.
Gynacantha dohrni_9
This is an immatured male. It is generally brownish in color. The distinctive short and whitish inferior appendage and the spear-shaped superior appendages is a clear indication of this species.

This is one of the most common species of aeshnidae which can be found locally.


Lestes praemorsus decipiens Kirby, 1894

Family: Lestidae (Spreadwings)
Scientific Name: Lestes praemorsus decipiens
Common Name: Crenulated Spreadwing

Lestes praemorsus decipiens is a member of the Lestidae family. A common name for this species is Crenulated Spreadwing.

This species is uncommon and can be found at large water bodies such as reservoirs and large ponds and wetland marshes. In Singapore, I have seen this species at MacRitchie Reservoir and Bukit Timah Nature Reserves.

The male has powdery light blue thorax with dark spots. The abdomen is dark and shaped like a hockey stick. Aged males are heavily pruinosed.

They typically rest with their wings at an angle away from their bodies and half open. They usually perch on vertical stems of water plants with their abdomen hanging downwards.

A male Crenulated Spreadwing. The eyes and body are powdery blue colour with black markings.
A mating pair. The female here is ovipositing her eggs onto plant tissue with the male in contact guarding.
Dorsal view of the pair. The head of the female is partially submerged in water.
The anal appendages of the female submerged in water is clearly visible.
Male in frontal view.
Lateral view of the male. Notice the half-opened wings and the dark slender abdomen with the hockey-shaped appearance.
Another pair of Lestes praemorsus. The female is duller in appearance.
The second pair in dorsal view. The female has similar markings as the male and is more greenish in colour.
An aged and pruinosed male taken at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. My only encounter of this species at that region. It was found at a small drainage enclosure.

Agriocnemis nana (Laidlaw, 1914)

Family: Coenagrionidae
Scientific Name: Agriocnemis nana
Common Name: Dwarf Wisp

This tiny damselfly is the smallest damselfly in Singapore. It is found in grass marshes in open forests, small streams and vegetation around edges of the central catchment reservoirs. It is very rare and localised in Singapore. The only places where I have found this species is at the water edges of the MacRitchie reservoir.
 The male has a blue thorax with black strips and blue abdomen. The labrum is blue and the pterostigma is bluish-white.
A male with striking bi-colour of yellow and blue on it’s thorax and abdomen.
A slightly younger male
Another young male.
This is a teneral male.
Same individual – dorsal view.
 The female is more colourful with green-yellowish thorax and blue abdomen. The pterostigma is pale brown.
Female with stunning colour. The thorax is lime green and the underside of the abdomen is light blue.
Another female individual found at the reservoir edge.
The stunning colour shows up well on this female.

I have only seen this species on just two to three occasions at the MacRitchie reservoir. Hope this species still survives as I have not seen it for quite a long time.


Macromia cincta Rambur, 1842

Family: Corduliidae (Emeralds)
Scientific Name: Macromia cincta
Common Name: Stream Cruiser

This is a moderately large and rare dragonfly which inhibits slow flowing streams near swampy forest in the Central Nature Reserve of Singapore. This species can be seen flying swiftly along forest trails or hanging from high branches at MacRitchie Reservoir.

This species has brilliant bluish-green eyes. There is a conspicuous white saddle cutting across the dorsum of the thorax of both sexes. Both sexes has dark patches at the base of the wings.

I think this should be a younger male as the eyes are more dull and the white markings on the thorax and abdomen are more striking.
Same male - side view. Less extensive dark patches on the wing base, and long hind legs.
Same male – side view. Less extensive dark patches on the wing base, and long hind legs.
This is an older male individual. The body is more purplish in colour, and eyes are brilliant green.
Older male – dorsal view
This is a female individual with similarly green eyes and slightly more extensive dark patches on the wing base. Females tend to be more rarer than males.

From my observance, this species tend to be more active in the late morning to early afternoon.  You’ll need to have good sharp eyes to locate them as they tend to hang motionlessly on twigs or high branches.


Lyriothemis cleis, Brauer, 1868 (Female)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Lyriothemis cleis
Common Name: Bombardier

Female Lyriothemis cleis is variegated brown in colour and very rare. So far, I have only spotted once at MacRitchie Reservoir.

Female spotted at MacRitchie Reservoir in year 2011
It has clear wings
Same Female
The abdomen is segmented with clear defined dark lines.

Lyriothemis cleis, Brauer, 1868 (Male)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Lyriothemis cleis
Common Name: Bombardier

Lyriothemis cleis was first discovered by A.R. Wallace from Singapore  in 1854. It is a rare dragonfly and found at Bukit Timah Nature Reserves and MacRitchie Reservoir.

According to some texts, this species lives in pristine dipterocarp forests and the larvae lives in water-filled cavities in plants.

The abdomen is dull red in colour with well-defined segments. The eyes are metallic dark brown and clypeus is milky white.

I have spotted this dragonfly a couple of times in year 2011 at the exact same spot along a forest trail at MacRitchie Reservoir.

Male – dorsal view
Male – lateral view
Male (notice metallic blue frons, milky white clypeus.and protruding secondary genitalia).