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.

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This fully matured male has greenish eyes, green thorax  and bright blue auricles.
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Female is much duller in coloration. This female has it’s anal appendages intact.
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Another male in lateral view. It likes to hang out in the forest where there are water sources.
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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.
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A rare sighting of a mating pair in action.
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View from a different angle.
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View from the side. The mating took quite a while.
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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.


Gynacantha subinterrupta Rambur, 1842 – Matured male

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha subinterrupta
Common Name: Dingy Duskhawker

Gynacantha subinterrupta is an uncommon Aeshnidae species of dragonfly. Fairly large and hide in the deep undergrowth of the forest during the day. Venture out at dawn and dusk, feeding on small insects.

In Singapore, I have seen this species at Bukit Timah nature reserve, Dairy Farm nature reserve, Upper Pierce Reservoir and the forest at Mandai.

A matured male. The pale bluish-green eyes are very attractive.
Ventral side. Notice the blue and green markings on the thorax and abdomen.
A rare glimpse of the male in flight.
Lateral view.
Hiding underneath a tree trunk.

In my opinion, amongst all the species of Aeshnidae dragonfly in Singapore, this species is the most colourful.


Gynacantha subinterrupta – female ovipositing!!

Family: Aeshnidae
Scientific Name: Gynacantha subinterrupta
Common Name: Dingy Duskhawker

This female Gynacantha subinterrupta oviposits by touching the surface of a substrate, in this case, soil and lay her eggs and flying to another spot repeating the same action.

See the female in Action!

The forest floor is littered with fallen leaves, seeds, tree trunk and branches. A great spot for the female to lay her eggs. The whole place will be flooded when the rain comes.
A side profile of her in action.
The shot is taken under very dim lighting. She chose a spot underneath a fallen tree trunk.
Curling up her abdomen and oviposits into the soil substrate.


She did her egg’s laying all by herself. No male is seen guarding her when she oviposits. This place is flooded the next day after a torrential rain.


Copera marginipes (Rambur, 1842)

Family: Platycnemididae
Scientific Name: Copera marginipes
Common Name: Yellow Featherlegs

Yellow Featherlegs is a fairly common damselfly which inhibit small streams, sluggish and often muddy channels, swamps around forest edges. In Singapore, I have encounter this species at Chestnut forest, and the forest around Mandai and Kranji.

This species is easily recognizable. Male has dark thorax with yellow streaks. The legs are yellow and flatten and the last two abdominal segments including the anal appendages are white.

Female has duller white or yellow streaks and abdomens are black.

Both immature male and female have white bodies and they are called – the “Ghost Form”.

A mating couple. Near a forest stream in Mandai.
An adult male. Notice the yellow streaks on it’s thorax and yellow legs.
A fairly young adult male. Some abdominal segments are still whitish.
Another male. Notice the white abdominal segments.
Young immature “ghost form”male.
Another immature “ghost from”male.
The duller adult female. This individual has it’s abdominal tips whitish.
Another female.
A third female. This looks like a younger specimen.
A “ghost form”female.
Another couple in tandem.
An unfortunate male. Dead in the hands of a Robberfly.

Chalybeothemis fluviatilis Lieftinck, 1933 – A close-up shot!

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Chalybeothemis fluviatilis
Common Name: Green-eyed Percher

I was always fascinated by this species of dragonfly due to it’s shinning green eyes. It is an uncommon and localise species which are found in exposed weedy banks of streams, rivers and near the banks of reservoirs. I have seen this species at just three locations; 1) near the banks of MacRitchie Reservoir; 2) at the big pond at Kent Ridge Park; and 3) at the open pond at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

This male was taken at the last location. A pleasant surprise for me as this was the first time I have seen this species at the location.

The most striking feature of this specie is the green eyes.
It’s sun-tanning on the concrete barrier structure.
Just one single lonely male.
Dorsal view – A handsome species.

Raphismia bispina (Hagen, 1867) * Female

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Raphismia bispina
Common Name: Mangrove Dwarf

Female Raphismia bispina has a black thorax and abdomen and covered with mottled yellow markings on the sides of the thorax and conspicuous yellow streaks along the sides of the abdomen. As the female matures, the markings on the thorax and abdomen are covered with pruinose.

It seems that females are more commonly encounter than the males.

This is a young female with hyaline wings, and clear yellow streaks along the abdomen.

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Another young female.

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Slightly aged matured female. Markings on the thorax and abdomen are obscured.

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Another older female.

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Raphismia bispina (Hagen, 1867) * Male

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Raphismia bispina
Common Name: Mangrove Dwarf

This is an uncommon species of dragonfly which inhabits mangrove swamps. It can be found at Changi, Pulau Ubin, Pulau Tekong, Mandai, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and other offshore islands. It is one of the dragonfly species that live and breeds in the salt water of back mangroves swamps and the surrounding vegetation.

The male Raphismia bispina looks like a smaller version of a Brachydiplax chalybea. It is in fact much smaller, lighter, and has a clear wing base. The male tend to perch for long period of time defending their territories against rival males in the mangrove swamps.

The thorax of the male is slate blue with mottled yellow marking on the sides. The eyes are dark brown on top and yellow below. The abdomen is slate blue with the last four segments black. There are two short spines behind the legs and beneath the thorax.

Adult male. The thorax and abdomen is covered with blue pruinescense.
Another male. Dorsal view with well-defined segments of blue and black.
Same male.
Third male. The wings are clear.
Third male. Lateral view. The two short spines can be seen in this shot.

Sub-adult male. The series of whitish streaks on the abdomen against the slate blue and black body is striking.

Dorsal view of the sub-adult male.
Well-defined markings and streaks on the thorax and abdomen.
Eyes are brown on top and greenish below. Frons is metallic blue.
Lateral view.

Another sub-adult but slightly more matured male. It has lesser streaks on the sides of the abdomen than the earlier male.

Dorsal view.
The thorax and abdomen is slightly pruinosed.
Dorsal view.
Young adult male.
Young adult male.
Young adult male.

In Singapore, this species can be found whole year round in the mangrove swamps. I have seen them at Pulau Ubin and SBWR. A small and inconspicuous dragonfly but not difficult to find in the mangrove swamps. At times, they could be quite abundant.


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.

Macrogomphus quadratus – the large green-eye gomphid!

Family: Gomphidae
Scientific Name: Macrogomphus quadratus
Common Name: Forktail

Macrogomphus quadratus is undeniably a large and ferocious-looking gomphid which frequent slow flowing streams in the Central Catchment Area, such as Upper Seletar Reservoir, MacRitchie Reservoir and NSSF.

Here are a couple of shots of both male and female captured during a recent trip to the Central Nature Reserve.