Orchithemis pulcherrima – Most colours form dragonfly

O. pulcherrima is a relatively small forest dragonfly species, classified as common and abundant.  This species is interesting but confusing because of its many colour forms, sometimes related to age and sex as stated in Mr Tang Hung Bun’s book “Dragonflies of Singapore”.  The males can appear in five different colours while the females have at least 3.  Are they really common and abundant?  Yes, but only the red form males are most commonly found in forested areas in Singapore.  I have seen them at Venus Drive, Upper Seletar, Upper Peirce, Lornie Trail, Rifle Range, etc.

(Red form male – most common)

The same cannot be said to the other 4 males.  In particular, the dark form, black abdomen & brown adbomen in my opinion are uncommon and rare respectively.  It took me almost 3 years to complete my collection.

(Dark form, black adbomen male – uncommon)


(Dark form, brown abdomen male – rare)

(Male, orange abdomen – relatively common)

(Immature male, yellowish brown abdomen – relatively common)


The females have fewer colour forms.  I have seen about 3 forms so far.  I was fortunate to spot a mating pair at Lornie Trail not too long ago.  Unlike most dragonflies which mate briefly and separated within a minute, this pair lasted about 5 minutes or so allowing me to take some decent shots.

(Mating pair – Lornie Trail)

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Dragonfly (4) – Tholymis Tillarga

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : White-barred Duskhawk
Status : Common
Location : Venus Drive, Upper Peirce, Macritchie Nature Trail, Jurong Woods, Lornie Trail

This is a common forest dragonfly. The male body is reddish in colour including adbomen. Both wings are transparent with the high wing with white and brown on the base.

(Male – Venus Drive, 21 Jan 2009)

The female is less attractive with yellowish in colour and its hind wings have translucent brown near the base.

(Female – Lornie Trail)

A good time to photograph this species is during morning and early afternoon when they are less active and are usually seen hanging on to the side twigs. It is not difficult to get close to it but once you scare them off, they are unlikely to come back on the same perch or in the vincinity.

(Female & Male – Macritchie Nature Trail, 29 Jan 2009)

Damselfly (4) – Podolestes Orientalis

Family : Megapodagrionidae)
Common Name : Blue-spotted Flatwings
Status : Common forest species
Location : Venus Drive, Macritchie Nature Trail, Chestnut Ave Nature Trail

The Podolestes orientalis is a common forest damselfly. It was first recorded in Singapore in 1997 and commonly known as the Flatwings Damselfly.  It is moderately built which likes to perch with its wings open up like a dragonfly.

(Female – Venus Drive, 5 Nov 2008)

I first spotted it perching on a twig in the middle of in a small muddy pool of water. Looking from about a metre away, I had actually mistaken it as a dragonfly because of its flat wings and relatively bigger than the normal damselfly. It was not easy to set my tripod in the muddy water and quite difficult to move around as the surrounding area is small. Fortunately, the subject was cooperative which allowed me to get some close-up shots. As expected, the lighting in the forest was not ideal and since this was the first time that I was shooting under such poor light condition, I had quite a difficulty photographing it and I just tried my luck by trial and error.

(Close-up shot of Podolestes-orientalis)

I initially thought it was a uncommon species but when I explored more into the various forest, I realised that they are actually quite common.

(Mating – Venus Drive, 18 Jul 2009)

(A male guarding a ovipositing female)

Dragonfly (1) – Agrionoptera Sexlineata

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : Handsome Grenadier
Status : Uncommon
Location : Venus Drive, Macritchie Nature Trail, Dairy Farm Nature Trail, Chestnut Ave Nature Trail

This colourful species is a rare forest dragonfly which I spotted while on my way to search for the metallic green damselfly. It is one of the most beautiful dragonflies that I have sen so far.  The male has blue, black and red segments of abdomen.  The thorax of both sexes is deep metallic green with three yellow stripes on the sides.  The female is slightly larger with orange colour of 6-7 segments of its obdomen.

Unlike other forest dragonflies which often perch on shady or darker areas, the male of this species seems to prefer on bright open space. They usually come out in the afternoon and lighting was not an issue. They are also quite cooperative and I have little problems shooting them.

(Male – Venus Drive, 29 Dec 2008)

(Female – Venus Drive, 6 Jan 2009)

(Male, front view – Venus Drive, 29 Dec 2008)