Risiophlebia dohrni, Krüger, (Potbellied Elf) -1902

Family: Libellulidae
Scientific Name: Risiophlebia dohrni
Common Name: Potbellied Elf

Listed as endangered in the Singapore Red Data Book, Potbellied Elf is one of the most rare species of dragonflies that can still be found in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. It is very small and is often found near or in shaded forest pools and nearby streams and vegetation.

In July, I have encountered two females and a single male in the Nature Reserve.

The 1st female resting on twig near to the forest floor.
Same female. It has reddish brown eyes on top and yellowish below.
Top of the synthorax is metallic green.
This is the male potbellied elf. The abdomen is thinner and top of the eyes are more darker brown.
Look at the curvature of the abdomen!!
And the swollen 1-3 segments of the abdomen.
Handsome face shot. Very prominent yellow band on the upper lip?
Yellow strips on the sides of the thorax.
This is the 2nd female. Found a little further away from the forest pools and streams.
Dorsal view. Perched very near to the ground. Need a keen eye to spot it.
More reddish eyes and the nose part is metallic green.
Look at the swollen abdomen!!
Very beautiful species of dragonfly indeed.

I feel both happy and excited to see this species again in the Nature Reserve and hope it continues to survive in our forests.


Agriocnemis minima (Selys, 1877) – The Rare Adult Female

Family: Coenagrionidae
Scientific Name: Agriocnemis minima
Common Name: NA

Agriocnemis minima is a tiny and unrecorded species of damselfly that is only recently being discovered in Singapore. I have taken shots of males and young and aged females at a freshwater swamp in the Western part of Singapore.

The adult female has eluded me until very recently when I bumped into this female. After doing some research on the internet, it became apparent to me that this individual should be the adult female form of this species. It is very rare and I have only seen one individual of this form.

The eyes are brown on top and green below. It has yellow pterostigmata, and has yellow stripes on the synthorax. The sides of the thorax and abdomen are green and the dorsal side of the abdomen is black.

The eyes are brownish on top, and green below.
It has blue postocular spots. Top of synthorax and abdomen are black. it has two yellow-greenish stripes on the synthorax.
The sides of the thorax is yellowish-green. Wings are clear with yellow pterostigmata.
Another dorsal view of this female.
Same female – lateral view.
A stunning beautiful species.

This species prefer to be in the open, grassy areas at the edge of the flooded wetland. It is probably the tiniest species of damselfly in Singapore with the abdomen plus appendages measuring just 14.5mm.


Merogomphus femoralis Laidlaw, 1931

Family: Gomphidae
Scientific Name: Merogomphus femoralis
Common Name: Malayan Spineleg

This species is very rare in Singapore and was first recorded in Nee Soon Swamp Forest in 2007 and 2008. There was a single male specimen recorded from Peninsular Malaysia on 1921.

I found the female individual at a heavily shaded forest trial at NSSF in Jun 2013. It was found resting on a fallen tree trunk on the trail when I first seen it. Shortly afterwards, it flew and rested on top of a leaf slightly above my eye level and facing away from my view. I managed to took a few quick shots before it flew even more higher up to the canopy and disappeared soon after.

This is a medium-sized gomphid with well-separated green eyes. It has greenish yellow stripes on the sides of the thorax. The abdomen segment has five horizontal yellowish stripes. Another distinguishing feature is the white superior appendages and the long hing legs.

The female Merogompus femoralis found at the forest trail at NSSF.
An enlarge cropped, showing the well-separated green-eyes and long femur legs. The five yellowish stripes on the abdomen can also been seen.

About a week later when I was at the exact spot where I seen the first female, I saw another individual (or was it the same female?), resting on the same tree. This individual was also very skittish and does not allowed me to take more than a few shots.

Not sure if this is the same individual as the first female? Or was it a male? I am very sure they are of the same species.
Although not very clear from this photo, the long, curved inwards, and whitish superior appendages can still been seen.

I have compared the photos of these two individuals with the one published by Mr. Tang and found it to be very similar. My conclusion of this species is that it is very skittish, and it could well be found deep in the Singapore forests.


Leptogomphus risi Laidlaw, 1933 – male

Family: Gomphidae
Scientific Name: Leptogomphus risi
Common Name: Ris’Clubtail

On May 03, 2014, I chanced upon a very rare gomphid, the very elusive leptogomphus risi, at the small stream at Dairy Farm Nature Reserve. This is a male specimen which so far, has only been recorded once in the forest at Rifle Range Road on 7th of March 2004, mentioned in Tang’s book of Singapore Dragonflies.

The male was resting on top of a fern plant very close to the stream. It is a small stream with slow flowing running water, deep in the heavily shaded forest in the Nature Reserves. This was my first sighting of a gomphid species at that part of the nature reserves.

It was regretted that I only have a few long distance shots of this male due to the fact that I only have my 100mm macro lens on hand and the dragonfly was actually perching very near to the stream while I was standing on an elevated ground of at least 2-3 metres away from the stream. After having taken a few long distance shots, I decided to go down to the stream for a closer look but on my way down, my movements frightened the dragonfly and it disappeared soon after.

I hope this dragonfly is still at the vicinity and I will try my luck again next time.


This shows how small it is from where I took this long distance shots.