Unknown Damselfly – Amphicnemis gracilis or Amphicnemis bebar?

During my recent trip to Nee Soon Swamp Forest, a damselfly that I have never seen before was spotted near a small stream. My initial thought was that it could be a new species and this got me excited. It disappeared for a while but after some thorough search, I managed to get some record shots.

(Female - Nee Soon Swamp Forest, 20 Oct 2012)

(Female – Nee Soon Swamp Forest, 20 Oct 2012)

(Female – Nee Soon Swamp Forest, 20 Oct 2012)

After careful examination, it looks a little like the red form immature female Amphicnemis gracilis. As a male Amphicnemis gracilis was found nearby (about 2 metres away), I concluded that it could be another different colour form female A. graclis.

Male Amphicnemis gracilis – Nee Soon Swamp Forest, 20 Oct 2012)

I emailed to Mr Tang Hung Bun to seek his advise that his reply was “Since the location is Nee Soon, it can either be A. bebarn or A. gracilis. Females of these two species are difficult to separate.”.

According to the Publication dated 22 Dec 2011 by NUS, Amphicnemis species are very similar to each other in appearance and thus cannot be identified with certainty based solely on colour markings.

Amphicnemis bebar was last collected in 1994, and has not been seen in Singapore since.

Dragonfly (45) – Macromia cydippe

Family : Corduliidae
Common Name : Lesser Stream Cruiser
Status : Very rare
Location : Venus Drive

According to the book “A photographic guide to the Dragonflies of Singapore“, Macromia cydippe is a very rare species in Singapore.  It was first recorded at Nee Soon Swamp forest on 3 January 2010 by Mr Cheong Loong Fah.

While going through my old photos recently, I found 2 low quality images of a dragonfly very similar to Macromia cydippe. Both images were taken on 28 January 2009 when I was still new in learning macro photography.

(Venus Drive – 28 Jan 2009)

A check with Mr Tang Hung Bun, one of the authors of the above book, confirmed that it was indeed a Lesser Stream Crusier, the common name of this species. It was found at a small stream at Venus Drive perching on a hanging branch at eye level. As I recall, it is a large dragonfly about the size of Macromia cincta. It has a metallic greenish blue body with a distinct yellow band at the base of the 7th segment.

I wanted to take a dorsal view shot but the stream is very narrow and, even with my Canon 100mm macro lens, it was too close to include the whole dragonfly in the frame.

(Venus Drive – 28 Jan 2009)

The difficulty of positioning my tripod in the stream and my clumsiness scared away the dragonfly as it disappeared into the forest. I have not seen this species again since then. I am lucky to be one of the only 2 persons in Singapore to have seen this dragonfly.

Euphaea ochracea (Malaysia Species)

In Singapore, there are 2 damselfly species under the family of Euphaeidae (Satinwings) namely Dysphaea dimidiata and Euphaea impar.  In Peninsular Malaysia, there is another species known as the Euphaea ochracea.

My first sighting was a single male at a small clear flowing stream in Endau Rompin State Park.  It was very skittish that I didn’t get any shot of it.  I saw another male a few months later at a relatively big stream near Mt Ophir.    This time, I managed some record shots.

It was only in Gunung Belumut last year where we saw quite a no. of this species.  The males prefer to perch on rocks or logs just above clear flowing water.

(A male perching on a rock surrounded by fast flowing water)

When they perch in such a manner, it is harder to photograph as one would need to go very low to get a eye-level shot. Also, the face of the damselfly would often look downward in the frame which is not nice to view. Hence, I would search for one that perch on a twig or falling branches as shown below.

(Euphaea ochracea, male)

The male has a distinctive golden brown/red body and wings making it very easy to recognise. I was lucky to spot a younger male where it has yellow markings on its thorax similar to that of the female. The wings are less golden than the mature male.

(Euphaea ochracea, younger male)

The female is less common than the male. I have only seen them in Gunung Belumut so far. Unlike the male, the female doesn’t perch so low and hardly on rock. They are often seen perching at least knee-level high on twigs or falling branches. Photographing the female is relatively easier than the male.

(Euphaea ochracea, female)

We have seen the younger male earlier, let us take a look at an aged female which has paler colour.

(Euphaea ochracea, aged female)

Since the female are less commonly found, I can’t resist to take a portrait of it.

(A smiling Portrait of a female, Euphaea ochracea)

The next time I see this beautiful damselfly again, I plan to take a portrait shot of the male. My wish is to photograph a mating pair!