Orthetrum sabina (Drury, 1773)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Orthetrum sabina
Common Name: Variegated Green Skimmer

Variegated green skimmer is one of the more common species of dragonfly that is widespread in Singapore and can be found almost everywhere from degraded open wastelands to marshes, ponds, drains and streams.

It is a medium-sized dragonfly reaching at a length of 47 – 52mm. The eyes are pale green. The thorax is greenish and marked with black stripes. The abdomen is marked with black and white markings. Abdomen segment 1 – 3 is swollen. The anal appendages is white.

Female looks very similar to male.

A male variegated green skimmer. It is very active during the day. Lurking amongst the vegetation looking out for potential prey.
Dorsal view of this pristine male specimen. It is feeding a small dragonfly.
It’s quite difficult to spot them when they stay still as their body’s coloration blends well with the surrounding environment.
They are very alert too and are ready to fence off potential rivals equal their size.
Aren’t they look fierce?
They even tackle dragonfly as large as a male trithemis festiva.
This is a female specimen. Very similar to the male except for the minute different at the anal appendages.
The female is equally aggressive. Here, it consumes a common grass yellow butterfly.
Quite often, you can encounter a mating pair in the field. I have seen such mating couple numerous times during my exploration at the grasslands and forest edges.
Another mating pair in wheel.

Variegated green skimmer are strong and fast flyer. It often prey on other smaller dragonflies, damselflies and small insects such as bees and butterflies.

The followings are some interesting photos of the insects they consumed:

Here, they feast on other smaller dragonfly such as (neurothemis fluctuans, trithemis aurora), damselfly (ischnura senegalensis) and they even eat their own kind.

Other examples of dragonfly victims are common parasol (neurothemis fluctuans), trumpet-tail (acisoma panorpoides), and blue percher (diplacodes trivialis).

Butterfly such as common grass yellow and common bush brown are also easy prey, so are bees. They even prey on banded hooktail ( paragomphus capricornis).

Next time when you are in the field, look out for this fearsome predators. It’s always bring me excitement whenever I see these dragonflies in action.


Orthetrum glaucum (Brauer, 1865)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Orthetrum glaucum
Common Name: Common Blue Skimmer

A common species that can be easily found near degraded forested habitats within and outside nature reserves in Singapore. I have seen this species at many locations especially within the forest fringes at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Chestnut Avenue Forest, Upper Seletar Reservoir Park and many other places.

They can be found at or near water sources such as ditches, ponds, small streams and rivers, resting on boulders, tree branches and leaves. Sometimes they are found far away from any water bodies especially at fringes of the forests, and wastelands.

The male has bluish green eyes. The thorax is generally dark blue and abdomen is lighter blue with the last two segments darken. Younger male has a lighter brownish colour. Female is light brown with greyish green eyes. Both aged male and female developed pruinosed over their bodies which are covered with powdery blue colouration.

Immature male

Young male

Adult male

Older male

Immature female

Adult female

Adult female

Older female

Older female

Older female

Older female

Older female

Older female

A snapshot of various copula taken on various occasions.

* more pictures at photo index!


Nesoxenia lineata (Selys, 1879)

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Nesoxenia lineata
Common Name: Striped Grenadier

This dragonfly is a smaller “grenadier”species, relatively uncommon, and inhibits swampy forests.

There are yellow bands on the sides of the thorax. The abdomen is thin and narrow, spear-shape in appearance, segments 6-8 are red, 9-10 are black. Females are similar in thoracic markings.

Young males perch for long period on twigs over shallow leafy-forest pools.