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Gynacantha basiguttata Selys, 1882 – A Male Galore!

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha basiguttata Selys,1882
Common Name: Spoon-tailed Duskhawker

Gynacantha basiguttata is a large forest-dwelling species of dragonfly which is rarely seen in Singapore. During the recent dry spell, I have encountered at least four males guarding their own territory in the dry forest pool. Each male perched on their favourite spot which overlook it’s territory. When there is intrusion of the same species male, the territory male will drive away the intruder and return to it’s favourite perch.

The male will stay in their territories for days in anticipation for the arrival of the female. Sometimes very close and violent contact among males do occurred where the sound of wings clasping could be heard.

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Male no.1 – resting under a fallen tree trunk.
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Male no. 1 – dorsal view. Notice the mud stricken abdomen.
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Lateral view.
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Male no.2 – A slightly young individual.
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Full Dorsal View.
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Male no.3 – Matured male with slightly worn wings.
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Male no.4 – Young and “fresh” male individual. Wings are clear.
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A close lateral view – showing great details of the head and thorax.
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Another dorsal shot.

This time round I did not notice any females around, although I have seen female of another hawker species, Gynacantha dohrni. When female arrives, they will mate with the male and then proceed to lay their eggs in the forest floor, before the rain arrives and flooded the forest floor.

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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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Pseudagrion pruinosum (Burmeister, 1839) (2)

Family: Coenagrionidae
Scientific Name: Pseudagrion pruinosum
Common Name: Grey Sprite

Here is the second series of a mating pair of grey sprites whereby the male is guarding the female in contact while she oviposit on plant tissue.

A tandem pair mating on a leaf just above the water surface of the fast flowing stream
Male holding on to the female while she go underneath the water surface looking for suitable spot to lay her eggs
Male still in contact with the female
The female is now almost totally submerged in the water. The only part of body visible is the pair of wings
Now the female is totally submerged, while the male is still holding on to her

Grey sprites are also great predators. They will devour insects sometimes bigger than their own size.

Male eatimg a damselfly probably female of orange striped thredtail
Male eatimg a damselfly probably female of orange striped threadtail
Close-up!!
Close-up!!
Female eating a spider
Female eating a spider
Another female eating a  female golden gem damselfly
Another female eating an immature female golden gem damselfly
Close-up!!
Close-up!!

Pseudagrion pruinosum (Burmeister, 1839) (1)

Family: Coenagrionidae
Scientific Name: Pseudagrion pruinosum
Common Name: Grey Sprite

Grey Sprite is an uncommon damselfly species which was first recorded in Singapore in 1997. This species is mainly found on grassy-bordered of fast flowing streams. It was recorded from Mandai and Central Catchment Reserve.

The male has a dark purplish grey appearance with striking reddish eyes. The blue-grey pruinescence on the thorax increase with age. The abdomen is generally black with the last three segments grey. Males are more commonly seen than females.

Male
Male

Female has olive-green eyes and orange markings on the thorax. Females tend to wonder some distance away from the streams where they hunt for smaller insects and occasional other damselfly.

Female

The mating process is very interesting. Male will generally stay very close to the female when she oviposits. It is not uncommon to see a tandem pair submerged in the water where female oviposits on plant tissues.

The female’s head is submerged, where the male guarding from above
The female’s head and part of the body is submerged
The female’s whole body is now submerged except for a pair of wings sticking out of the water.

Libellago lineata Burmeister, 1839

Family: Chlorocyphidae (Jewels)
Scientific Name: Libellago lineata
Common Name: Golden Gem

Golden Gem is one of the most attractive damselfly that can be found in Singapore. It is rare and can only be found at two locations, Mandai Stream and Central Catchment Nature Reserve. The male has an attractive golden-yellow markings on the 5-6 abdominal segments.  It also has a dark apical spot on the forewing. Young males will defend territories around fallen tree trunk, floating leaves, or twigs. Female is rather rare and has more extensive pale yellowish markings on the thorax and abdomen.

Male like to perch on emergent water plants, floating leaves, twigs etc and defend it's territories.
Male like to perch on emergent water plants, floating leaves, twigs etc and defend it’s territories.
This male is resting on a fallen leave on the side of a running stream, under the shade of surrounding vegetation.
This male is resting on a fallen leave on the side of a running stream, under the shade of surrounding vegetation.
Female on twig
Female on twig
Males fighting for territories
Males fighting for territories
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Gynacantha bayadera Selys, 1891

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha bayadera
Common Name: Small Duskhawker

Out of the four Gynacantha Sp. that can be found in Singapore, I think Gynacantha bayadera  is the most elusive and most hard to find. It is consider rare in Singapore and the two specimens which I took, a male and a female are found at Mandai Forest.

The thorax of this species is entirely green. Unlike the other Gynacantha Sp. that can be found locally here, bayadera does not have a T-shaped mark on the frons. The superior appendages is straight and fairly short.

From my observation, G. bayadera prefer to perch lowly on twig or branch in thick forest and will not move far if disturbed. It’s greenish thorax and small size also blend in perfectly well with the surrounding vegetation. It is a fairly a localized species and quite rare.

Male
Female
Female

Aethriamanta aethra Ris, 1912 (Young Male)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Aethriamanta aethra
Common Name: Blue Adjudant

This is a young male of Aethriamanta aethra and is very rare in Singapore. This was my first sighting of this species in Singapore. It was found at the secondary forest at Mandai. This individual was perching very high up on a bamboo branch. It was quite a distance away from a nearby stream.

An awesome and pristine specimen.

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Blue Adjudant, young male (Aethriamanta aethra)
Blue Adjudant, young male (Aethriamanta aethra)
Blue Adjudant, young male (Aethriamanta aethra)
Blue Adjudant, young male (Aethriamanta aethra)