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)


Dragonfly (32) – Orthetrum Chrysis

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : Spine-tufted Skimmer
Status : Common
Location : Rifle Range Nature Trail, Venus Drive
This is a common and relatively unattractive dragonfly species.  It is not easy to get a nice shot as they are usually quite sensitive to human.  I often gave it a miss and therefore, I am not surprised that I could only found one record image in my harddisk.  I shall make an effort to spend sometime on this species and get a better shot next time.
(Rifle Range Nature Trail - 22 Apr 2010)

(Rifle Range Nature Trail – 22 Apr 2010)


Dragonfly (29) – Orthetrum Glancum (黑尾灰蜻)

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : Common Blue Skimmer
Status : Uncommon
Location : Rifle Range Nature Trail, Dairy Farm Nature Park
Orthetrum Glaucum is a medium size dragonfly species.  The males are blue in colour with a greyish at the tip of its abdomen.  The females are golden yellow in colour and they are less commonly found than the males.  They usually perch on messy bushes and sometimes on stones under the hot sunlight making it difficult to get nice shots.  So far I have sighted them at Dairy Farm Nature Park and Rifle Range Nature Trail.  Hope I can get an improvement shot soon.
(Rifle Range Nature Trail - 2010)

(Rifle Range Nature Trail – 2010)

Dragonfly (25) – Brachydiplax Chalybea

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : Blue Dasher
Status : Common
Location : Singapore Botanical Gardens, Rifle Range Nature Trail, Segar Road

A relatively small-sized species commonly found in ponds. Males are blue in colour with dark patches while females are brown in colour. Female is less common than male. I have seen the female only once. By the way, I have initially thought that this is a Aethriamanta Gracilis. Both look very similar although B. Chalybea is slightly bigger in size.
(Male - Rifle Range Nature Trail, 22 Apr 10)

(Male – Rifle Range Nature Trail, 22 Apr 10)

(Female - Segar Road, 3 Jan 2009)

(Female – Segar Road, 3 Jan 2009)

Dragonfly (24) – Neurothemis Fluctuans

Family : Neurothemis fluctuans
Common Name : Common Parasol
Status : Very common
Location : Almost anywhere in Singapore where there are bushes near ponds, streams, lake, reservoirs, etc.

This is easily one of the most common dragonfly species that you can find in Singapore. They are so common that most of the photographers, me included, would give it a miss when seeing them.

(Male - Venus Drive, 25 Nov 2008)

(Male – Venus Drive, 25 Nov 2008)

(Female - Venus Drive, 24 Oct 2009)

(Female – Venus Drive, 24 Oct 2009)

Dragonfly (22) – Rhyothemis Obsolescens

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : Bronze Flutterer
Status : Uncommon
Location : Chestnut Ave, Rifle Range Nature Trail

This species can be easily identified by its bronze wings and dark marking. Both male and female are similar in appearance. They like to perch under direct sunlight. I have only seen this dragonfly in an open marshes near Chestnut Avenue. Unfortunately, before I could get a better shot of it, the place is now under redevelopment  for private residential purposes.

(Rifle Range Nature Trail - 22 Apr 2010)

(Rifle Range Nature Trail – 22 Apr 2010)

My 2nd sighting of this species was at Rifle Range Nature Trail.  I am glad to capture some improvement shots of it.

(Rifle Range Nature Trail - 22 Apr 2010)

(Rifle Range Nature Trail – 22 Apr 2010)

Dragonfly (13) – Ictinogomphus Decoratus Melaenops

Family : Gomphidae
Common Name : Common Flangetail
Status : Common
Location : West Coast Park, Venus Drive, Lornie Trail, Rifle Range Nature Trail, Singapore Botanical Gardens

(Venus Drive, 25 Feb 2009)

(Venus Drive, 25 Feb 2009)

This is one of the biggest dragonflies (about 12 cm long) that I have seen in Singapore, easily 4 times the size of Asian Pintail (see previous post). It is classified as a very common species but I would consider it relatively common as I have spotted them only 4 or 5 times so far.  I first spotted it at West Coast Park and recently at a slow-moving open stream in Venus Drive. It has a aggresive look maybe due to its huge size and certainly not an easy species to get close. The nearest distance that I was able to shoot was more than a metre away but fortunately, it often returned to the same twig where it perched.

On 13 Sep 2010, I finally got an improvement shot of this giant dragonfly.

(Singapore Botanical Gardens - 13 Sep 2010)

(Singapore Botanical Gardens – 13 Sep 2010)

Dragonfly (10) – Agrionoptera Insignis

Family : Libellulidae
Common name : Grenadier
Status : Common
Location : Venus Drive, Jurong Woods, Chestnut Avenue Nature Trail, Singapore Botanical Gardens, West Coast Park, Rifle Range Nature Trail, Wild Wild West, etc.

This is classified as an uncommon species but I have seen the males on many occasions such as Venus Drive, West Coast Park, Rifle Rifle Range Nature Trail, Jurong Woods, etc.   They are usually found in sluggish streams & shady drains.  A common species in my opinion.

The male has a a prominent red abdomen with black markings.

(Male – Singapore Botanical Gardens, 22 Dec 2008)

The female is thicker and the colour in its abdomen is duller.    The males can be commonly found but not the female.  A very cooperative species which usually perches around the same spot for a prolonged period.

(Female – Venus Drive, 15 Jan 2009)

Damselfly (3) – Coeliccia Octogesima

Family : Platycnemidae
Common Name : Telephone Sylvan
Status : Common forest species
Location : Venus Drive, Upper pierce, Rifle Range Nature Trail

The Coeliccia octogesima is a common forest species. Unlike most damselflies that I’ve seen, it has a thin body and held its wings apart instead of holding them together vertically. This male species is easily identified by the two telephone shape from the dorsal view of its thorax. The female is similar to the male but the telephone shape is less well defined.

(Male – Venus Drive, 4 Feb 2009)

I first spotted it on 26 Dec 2008 perching very lowly on small patch of grass making it difficult to photograph the side view. I found a mating pair in Feb 09 but it soon separated and perched on a thin branch in small dark stream but it was high enough this time to have a classic side view shot.

(Close-up dorsal view)

This is one of the most cooperative species that I have seen and I have no problem getting a dorsal close-up view.

(Dorsal view close-up)

Dragonfly (2) – Nannophya Pygmaea [小紅蜻蜓]

Family : Libellulidae
Common name : Pygmy Dragonfly
Status : Common
Location : Lornie Trail, Rifle Range Nature Trail, Chestnut Ave, Upper Peirce

Nannophya pygmaea (or pypmy) is one of the smallest dragonflies species in the world and certainly the smallest dragonfly that can be found in Singapore. It has a total length of approximately 15mm long and a wingspan of only about 20mm.  The male is almost entire red particularly on its eyes and body.

(Mature Male – Rifle Range Nature Trail, 20 Feb 2010)

Below is an image of a not fully mature male where the colours are not in complete red yet.

(Not fully Matured Male – Chestnut Ave, 4 Jan 2009)

The young male is yellowish brown in colour:

(Immature male – Chestnut Ave, 4 Jan 2009)

The female is  less commonly seen than the males where its abdomen has bands of brown and white.

(Female – Rifle Range Nature Trail, 29 Sep 2012)

They are very cooperative and photographing them is relatively easy. The challenge is to get a uniform background and a good angle having its wings not covering their faces which I didn’t quite manage to do it for these 3 male images.