Scientific Name: Pornothemis starrei
Common Name: Mangrove Marshal
Mangrove Marshall is predominantly a mangrove species of rare dragonfly that can be found in mangrove habitat in most part of Singapore coastal areas. I have encountered this species at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Pulau Ubin, and at the mangrove swamps at Western part of Singapore.
The male has a metallic black body with light bluish pruinescence on the dorsum of the thorax. It also has markings that look like “stars” on the synthorax, that differs between individuals. The abdomen is thin, dark and curved when view from the side It has a pair of attractive greenish-blue eyes.
Females are olive in colour on the sides of the thorax and are rarely encountered.
I have caught many males and females in pixel over a span of a few weeks of this elegant and rare species at the mangrove swamps of Singapore. One has to see the real specimen to appreciate the beauty of the species.
Scientific Name: Camacinia gigantea
Common Name: Sultan
Camamcinia gigantea is a large dragonfly species that lives in open ponds, quarries and occasionally, forest pools.
I have observed this species many times, sometimes up to four to five individuals at the forest fringe at Bukit Timah Nature Reserves. It frequents flooded forest pools and may wander far from the water source.
It can co-habit peacefully with other smaller dragonfly species but may chase away rivals within a small territory.
The below photos are taken at a forest in the Mandai area where a small forest pools was formed after heavy rain and attracts a female and two male Sultans, a few Neurothemis fluctuans, a male Orthetrum testaceum and a male Potamarcha congener.
Although rare, Camacinia gigantea may occur in numbers when there are adequate water source and at certain time of the year. It is a delight to watch them fly gracefully over the surface of the water and then perch peacefully at their favorite spot.
Scientific Name: Pseudagrion rubriceps
Common Name: Orange-faced Sprite
According to the book of dragonflies by Mr. Tang, this very rare damselfly has been found only at two locations in Singapore. These sightings were at Toa Payoh Town Park, and at the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.
My sighting of this species were at a very remote location at the western part of Singapore. The place has a small running stream surrounded by short and weedy vegetation.
The male has a striking bright orange face with olive green on the dorsum. It has beautiful light blue on the sides of the synthorax and blue markings on segment 10.
It is sad that this species can no longer be found at Toa Payoh Town Park, but elsewhere in Singapore, it can still be found.
Scientific Name: Idionyx yolanda
Common Name: Shadowdancer
Idionyx yolanda is a small and lightly built dragonfly inhabiting forest streams and swamps in the nature reserves. Although rare, it can be found in most forested areas such as Upper Peirce Reservoir, Upper Seletar Reservoir, MacRitchie Reservoir, and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.
This female was found perching on a twig near to a forest stream at the Dairy Farm Nature Park.
Scientific Name: Heliaeschna crassa
Common Name: Nighthawker
Heliaeschna crassa is very rare in Singapore. It inhabit swampy forests and are crepuscular. So far, I have bumped into this species only twice over the span of 5 years of my dragonfly hunting. Once in the forest near Upper Pierce Reservoir, and this one, near Chestnut forest. On both occasions, it’s appearance was caused by my unintentional disturbance while I was walking along the forest trail. My observation of this species is that it tends to be very sensitive to any movements in the surroundings. Once it flies off, it will never come back again. Also, it tends to perch quite low in the dense vegetation.
This is a pretty large species. The eyes of the male are bottle green. The thorax is green and somewhat flatten with greenish transverse flecks and the abdomen of this one is black, probably indicating this is an older male. It has 4-5 crossveins in the median space at the base of the wings.
The top of the frons is black w/o a T-mark. The wings are brownish tinted.
The most unique feature of this species is it’s anal appendages. The male superior appendages is thin and long with a somewhat swollen recurved tip pointing outward. The inferior appendage is very short and slightly recurved.
This species is definitely one of the rarest species of dragonfly in Singapore. Unfortunately, I only managed to take a couple of shots before this male shoot off and disappeared into the forests.
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.
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.
July is definitely the breeding month for the Clearwing gems where I have seen many of these little gems scattering around an open patch of the forest in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. This time round, males are evidently more abundant than females.
Majority of the males are matured male which has a bluish grey abdomen. Younger male has attractive steel blue abdomen.
Females has a thicker abdomen and stouter in appearance. Young female has a golden orange body whilst older females are paler bluish grey in colour.
Scientific Name: Oligoaeschna amata (Fӧrster, 1903)
Common Name: Paddle-tail
Female O.amata is considered to be rare in Singapore. This species can only be found at a few localised areas in the Central Catchment Nature Reserves. Although rare, this species may appear in numbers, both males and females during the breeding seasons. During the day, it hides in the deep undergrowth in the secondary forests, and forages during dusk and dawn. I have seen female species of both O.amata and O.foliacea occurs during the breeding seasons.
This species normally rest on leaves or twig just above an observer’s eyes level. It prefers heavily shaded forests where it rests during the day. It is quite easy to approach this species if it is left undisturbed, although taking photograph in the dim environment may pose a challenge.
Of all the Aeshnide species of dragonfly that can be found in Singapore, this is amongst the most brilliantly coloured species.
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.
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.