Damselflies in dews!

During my early year of learning macro photography, I was often frustrated as I could not get sharp images.  Most of my pictures were motion blur due mainly to windy conditions.  I soon realized that from the first light of the day (ie. 6.45 am to 7.00 am) to 9.00 am is the best period for newbie like me to practise shooting as there are little or no winds and insects are less active.  I began to improve and soon mastered the basic skills of macro photography.  Shooting very early in the morning has its advantage.  You would see lots of dews around the greenery.

(Female Common Bluetail, Holland Woods - 11 Oct 2008)

(Female Common Bluetail, Holland Woods – 11 Oct 2008)

Morning dews not only complement but very effective in making an ordinary subject looks amazingly different.   I personally find damselflies covered or surrounded in the morning dews most beautiful and eye-catching such as the above image which is one of my favourites.

Holland Woods, a greenery opposite Ngee Ann Polytechnic, is an excellent place to photograph damselflies in heavy dews!

(Female Common Bluetail - Holland Woods - 7 June 208)

(Female Common Bluetail, Holland Woods – 7 Jun 2008)

It is a location where the Common Bluetail damselflies are in abundant. Although this species is very common and widespread throughout in Singapore, it is quite unique as the female has three different colour forms ie Golden orange, Olive green & Bluish green.

(Female Common Bluetail, Holland Woods - 24 May 2008)

(Female Common Bluetail, Holland Woods – 24 May 2008)

Wild Wild West, a location at the end of Corporation Road, is the next best place to shoot damselflies in dews. Unfortunately, it is now under construction for roads and drains and I heard recently that it will be used for industrial purposes.

(Female Commontail, Wild Wild West - 3 May 2010)

(Female Commontail, Wild Wild West – 3 May 2010)

Shooting damselfly in dews with dark background is equally appealing to me.

(Variable Wisp, Wild Wild West - 7 Nov 2009)

(Variable Wisp, Wild Wild West – 7 Nov 2009)

How about one with a backlighting as shown below?

(Female Commontail, Wild Wild West - 3 May 2010)

(Female Commontail, Wild Wild West – 3 May 2010)

If you like these images, wake up and shoot very early like me!

Dragonfly (14) – Rhyothemis Phyllis

Family : Libellulidae
Common name : Yellow-Barred Flutterer
Status : Common
Location : Holland Woods, Chinese Gardens, Jurong Woods II, Kranji Nature Trail, Chestnut Ave, Lornie Trail

This is a common dragonfly species and is easily recognisable by it back and yellow markings on its wings. A beautiful dragonfly that prefers to perch on very thin leaves or stems making it quite difficult to photograph as a slight breeze would cause the perch to swing resulting in motion blur.

(Holland Woods – 22 Aug 2009)

Dragonfly (12) – Acisoma Panorpoides (錐腹蜻蜓)

Family : Libellulidae
Common name : Asian Pintail
Status : Common

This is a relatively small species commonly found in shrub-dominated streams, canals, drains, ponds, etc. The female is greenish grey in colour while the male has black & white body with attractive blue eyes. I have seen them in the grass patches near Holland Woods and a steam near Segar Road sometime in Mid June 08. On both occasions, I had difficulty getting near to them and did not manage to get good shots. It was almost a year later on 9 May 09 when I revisited Holland Woods, did I manage to get some improvement shots of the male. It was at 7.30 am and this male was probably fast asleep allowing me to go very near to capture some close-up shots as well.

(Male – Holland Woods, 9 May 2009)

(Female – Holland Woods, 30 Mar 2010)

In Mar 2010, I was lucky again to find a sleeping female at Holland Woods.  It was pretty early in the morning and there were some dews on its body giving it a refleshing look. 

(Holland Woods – 20 Mar 2010)

Damselfly (14) – Ischnura Senegalensis [青紋細蟌]

Family : Coenagrionidae
Common Name : Common Bluetail
Status : Very Common
Location : Holland Woods, Kranji Nature Trail, Wild Wild West, etc.

(Mating with bright orange female - Holland Woods, 3 Mar 2008)

(Mating with bright orange female – Holland Woods, 3 Mar 2008)

This is the 2nd most common damselfly species in Singapore. Similar to Bi-coloured damselfly, they are usually found around ponds, drains, lakes, canals, etc. The male is greenish blue in colour but the female occurs in several colour forms, including one with overall bright orange, another with dull olive colour and also one similar like the male.
(Mating with dull olive female - Holland Woods, 25 Jan 2010)

(Mating with dull olive female – Holland Woods, 25 Jan 2010)

(Mating with a female that has similar colour of the male - Holland Woods, 7 Feb 2010)

(Mating with a female that has similar colour of the male – Holland Woods, 7 Feb 2010)

Damselfly (13) – Ceriagrion Cerinorubellum [彩虹細蟌]

Family : Coenagrionidae
Common Name : Ornate Coraltail or Bi-coloured Damsel
Status : Very Common
Location : Singapore Botanical Gardens, Holland Woods, Wild Wild West, Jurong Woods, Kranji Nature Trail, etc.

(Venus Drive, 16 Sep 2009)

This beautiful damselfly is the most common species in Singapore. They can be easily found in many of our parks particularly around ponds, drains, canal, open streams, etc. They could also be found in our forested areas. 

(Singapore Botanical Gardens, 29 Oct 2008)

They are relatively big in size and I have seen them, on a few occasions, attacking and feeding on other species of smaller damselflies. Both sexes have similar appearance except that the female has slightly darker marking.

Being common and having a colourful body, they are also the most photographed species. They are quite approachable and get a close-up shot is fairly easy.

Dragonfly (8) – Trithemis Aurora (紫紅蜻蜓)

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : Crimson Dropwing
Status : Very Common
Location : Singapore Botanical Gardens, Segar Road, Dairy Farm Nature Park, Holland Woods, etc.

(Female – Holland Wood, 27 Dec 2007)

This Dawn Dropwing species is one of the most common dragonflies than can be found near ponds, open streams and lakes. They are very attractive looking and easily noticeable. The female has bright orange colour while the male is deep pink in colour. They are very quite easy to approach and usually not a problem to get some close-up shots.

(Male – Singapore Botanical Gardens, 6 Aug 2008)

(Male close-up – Venus Drive, 19 Feb 2008)

(Female close-up – Singapore Botanical Gardens, 27 Dec 2007)

Damselfly (9) – Onychargia atrocyana (藍彩細蟌)

Family : Coenagrionidae
Common Name : Shorttail
Status : Uncommon
Location : Singapore Botanical Gardens, Holland Woods, Lornie Trail

This uncommon damselfly is also known as the Shorttail in Singapore as it has an unusually short abdomen.  The male looks almost black in colour while the female has brown coloured thorax with creamy white stripes.  A mating pair was first spotted at Singapore Botanical Gardens in Jan 2008. Unfortunately it was not well taken as I just started learning photography at that time.

(A mating pair – Singapore Botanical Gardens, 21 Jan 2008)

A few months later in Jul 2008, a female was found at Holland Wood.

(Female – Holland Woods, 2 Jul 2008)

It was fairly cooperative allowing me to take some close-up shots.

(Female close-up – Holland Woods, 2 Jul 2008)

I have seen a mating pair again this time at Lornie Trail Board Walk in 2011 but they flew away before I could properly set up my equipment.

Dragonfly (7) – Crocothemis Servilia (猩紅蜻蜓)

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : Common Scarlet
Status : Common
Location : Holland Woods, Jurong Woods II, Sungei Buroh Wetland Reserve

(Male – Holland Woods, 8 Nov 2008)
The Crocothemis servilia dragonfly is quite widespread in Singapore. The male has an overall striking red colour while the female is yellow in colour. They are quite big in size and are commonly found in Holland Wood, Sungei Buroh Wetland Reserve, etc.
(Female – Holland Woods, 12 Oct 2008)

(Male – Holland Woods, 26 Mar 2008)

Damselfly (5) – Agriocnemis Femina

Family : Coenagrionidae
Common Name : Variable Wisp
Status : Common
Location : Segar Road, Toa Payoh Town Gardens, Jurong Woods, Holland Woods

This is a tiny damselfly about 22mm in size.  It is the smallest damselfly species that I have seen in Singapore, so far. A confusing species because of colour changes with maturity.

(Immature Female - Segar Road, Jan 2009)

The immature male is green and orange but on maturity it becomes dark with heavy pruinescence on the head and synthorax. Females is red in colour.

(Immature male - Segar Road, Jan 2009)

This species usually perch lowly on grass and it was quite difficult getting a parallel shot. Also, they are not easy to get close.  The best time to photograph them is early in the morning when they are less active.

(Mature male - Holland Woods, 14 Mar 2009)

Afternote: The smallest damselfly is A. Nano which was spotted at Lornie Trail on 15 Sep 2010.  A very young female A. Femina (see below) was also sighted on this day.

(Very young female - 15 Sep 2010)