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 (18) – Lathrecista Asiatica

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : Scarlet Grenadier
Status : Uncommon
Location : Upper Seletar Reservior, Upper Peirce, Tagore Forest

This dragonfly is classified as a common forest species but I have seen the males only at Upper Seletar Reservior and Upper Peirce.  The female is less common as I have sighted once at Upper Peirce.  The thorax of both sexes are dark brown in colour with yellow stripes.  However the male species has a entire red abdomen while the female is brownish in colour.
(Male, Upper Pierce – 28 Jan 2010)


This males species looks quite similar to Agrionoptera Insignis.  One way to differentiate is that L. Asiatica has a narrower and straight-sided abdomen. 

(Side View Female – Upper Pierce, 12 July 2010)
(Front View Female – Upper Peirce, 12 July 2010)

I am happy to have captured an improvement shot of the male at Tagore Forest on 4 Sep 2010.

(Male – Tagore Forest, 4 Sep 2010)

Damselfly (16) – Amphicnemis gracilis

Family : Coenagrionidae
Common name : Will-o-wisp
Status : Uncommon
Location : Bukit Timah Bicycle Trail, Upper Peirce, Upper Seletar Reservior

This is a swamp forest species and a new record for Singapore in 1997. It has very slim but long tail.

(Very Young Female, Orange Form – Bukit Timah Bicycle Trail, 30 May 09)
The above image should be a very young female with strong orange thorax, yellow eyes & wings. When it gets a little older, it would change into bright red colours (see below). Eye colours would change too.

(Inmature Female, Red Form – Upper Pierce, 14 Nov 09)

When it is fully matured, it would change again into green-olive colour (see below). The males are less attractive with a dark metallic green thorax and it is less common than the female. I have yet to see one (see picture here).

(Matured Female, Olive-Green Form – Bukit Timah Bicycle Trail)

(Matured female closed up)

(Very young female, close-up)

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 (6) – Orchithemis Pulcherrima

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : Variable Sentinel
Status : A common forest species (Red form are more common than blue form)
Locatin : Upper Seletar Reservior, Upper Peirce, Sime Track

This is a relatively small forest dragonfly. The males have many colour forms.  The red form male is one of the most common forest dragonflies.  My first sighting was at a small stream perching on a hanging branch on 8 Feb 09 at about 3 pm. The breeze, the thin perch as well as the low light condition made it difficult to get a sharp image. I was fortunate to spot another one at Sime Track on 19 Feb 09 in the morning and this time it was resting on a firm branch allowing me to take a better shot of it.

(Male, Red Form – Sime Track, 19 Feb 2009)

The females also have different colour forms.  The following images are some of the colour forms.  I have yet to see the red colour form of the female which is said to be rare.

(Female, brownish abdomen – Venus Drive, 22 Jul 09

According to Mr Choong, the following dragonfly looks like a female Orchithemis pulcherrima – a blue form. He said “I have seen red form female O. pulcherrima of young to very matured ones. The colour of very matured female red pulcherrima is not as black as this. Furthermore, there is a trace light colour on the S2-3. So, I personal think it could be a blue form female O. pulcherrima.”

(Female, Blue form – Upper Peirce)

(Female, blue form – side view)
(Female, dark form – Lornie Trail, 1 June 2011)

Damselfly (7) – Prodasineura Notostigma

Family : Protoneuridae
Common Name : Crescent Threadtail
Status : Common Forest Species
Location : Upper Seletar Reservoir


(Upper Seletar Reservoir, 8 Feb 2009)

This is a common forest damselfly that can be found near slow moving streams. It was first sighted at Upper Seletar Reservoir Park.  There were quite a no. of them.  A very cooperative species that stay on a perch at long period.   Getting close-up shot of them them is not an issue.

(Upper Seletar Reservoir, 8 Feb 2009)