Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dragonfly (38) - Macrodiplax Cora

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : Coastal Glider
Status : Common
Location : Lornie Trail

M. Cora is a middle-sized dragonfly species with a relatively large head.  The male has a dark brown thorax and its abdomen is red in colour while the female has light orange-yellow thorax and abdomen.  The immatured male looks similar to the female except that its colours is a little darker.  Both sexes have distinguishable thick broken black marking on the upperside of the abdomen. 

(Immatured male - Lornie Trail, 25 Aug 2010)

Although this species is classified as common, strangely, this was my first sighting in my 3 years of chasing dragonflies.  There were 2 of them perching on a dry twig quite a distance from the reservior.  Occasionally, they would fight one another but returned to the same perch.  An easy species to photograph.

(Frontal view - Lornie Trail, 25 Aug 2010)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dragonfly (37) - Chalybeothemis Fluviatilis

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : Green-eyed Percher
Status : Uncommon
Location : Lornie Trail

This is a small and thin uncommon dragonfly which is slightly smaller than that of the Diplacodes Trivialis.  As its common name suggests, both sexes have attractive green eyes.  The thorax of the male is metallic dark blue colour.  Accordingly to the Dragonflies of Singapore's Photographic Guide Book, the female is similar but with brown colour on the dorsum of thorax and the wing base tinted with brownish yellow.

(Male - Lornie Trail, 23 Aug 2010)

Similar to my 2 previous posts, this male was also sighted at the edges of Macritchie Reservior along Lornie Trail.  A skittish species which did not allow me to go fewer than 2 metres near.  I could only shoot from the walking path looking down into the reservior water where this dragonfly perched just slightly above.  Even with my 1.4TC attached to a 180mm macro lens, this image was heavily cropped.  I hope to get an improvement shot of the male soon and to meet the female too!

Revisited Lornie Trail during my morning off this morning (25 Aug 2010) and was rewarded with another 3 new collection of dragonflies and some improvement shots of exisitng species.

(Front view - Lornie Trail, 25 Aug 2010)

(Dorsal view - Lornie Trail, 25 Aug 2010)

I was excited to witness a mating pair but fortunately it lasted only for a minute or so and I was too slow to get a good shot at them. 

(Mating pair - Lornie Trail, 25 Aug 2010)

Dragonfly (36) - Indothemis Limbata

Family : Libelluidae
Common Name : Restless Demon
Status : Critically endangered
Location : Lornie Trail

This species is listed in the Singapore Red Data Book as critically endangered.  The male is dark blue in colour with some silver markings at the last few segments of its adbomen.  The colour of the female is said to be paler and is even more rare.

(Male - Lornie Trail, 23 Aug 2010)

On 23 Aug 2010, 2 males were spotted around the reservior edges along the Lornie Trail.  They perched on some leaves in the middle of the water making it difficult to shoot.  The above image was taken with my tripod set at the slope of the reservior edge.   I had to attach my 1.4TC to get a reasonable reach to this dragonfly.  Fortunately, it stayed at this perch for a long period enabled me to take some decent shots.

(Lornie Trail - 23 Aug 2010)

I revisited Lornie Trail on 25 Aug 2010 and I am glad to obtain an improvement shot of this species.

(Lornie Trail - 25 Aug 2010)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dragonfly (35) - Aethriamanta Brevipennis

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : Scarlet Adjudant
Status : Rare
Location : Lornie Trail

Aethriamanta BrevipennisIt is a small and short species but strongly built with broad abdomen.  The male is bright red in colour which looks a little like a small version of Orthetrum Chrysis.  The female is yellowish brown in colour.

(Male - Lornie Trail, 23 Aug 2010)

Today is my first encounter of this male species at Lornie Trail.  It preferred to perch lowerly, about 10 -15 cm above the reservior water and it appeared to enjoy perching under the bright sunlight.    As such, it is not easy to photograph and I could only manage some record shots.

(Male - Lornie Trail, 23 Aug 2010)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dragonfly (34) - Aethriamanta Gracilis

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : Pond Adjutant
Status : Uncommon
Location : Lornie Trail

Aethriamanta Gracilis is a small dragonfly which looks very identical to Brachydiplax Chalybea, except that it is smaller size and more open wing venation.  Similarly to B. Chalybea, males are more common than females.  There were about 8 to 10 nos. of male at some bushes along Lornie Trail and I think I spotted one female but I did not manage to capture it in pixel as it was flying without perching.  The males were quite skittish and therefore I could only manage some record shots.

(Male - Lornie Trail, 16 Aug 2010)

(Male - Lornie Trail, 16 Aug 2010)

(ID unknown - Lornie Trail, 25 Aug 2010)

The female is said to be "yellowish brown in colour with black marking".  Based on this description, the above image could be a female A. Gracilis which was spotted on 25 Aug 2010.

(Side view - Lornie Trail, 25 Aug 2010 )

Afternote : After Mr C.Y. Choong commented that it is unlikely to be a female A. Gracilis, I wrote to Mr Tang H. B. for a second opinion.  He is certain that it is not any of the Aethrianmanta species as the venation does not match.  He also rules out the possibility of Trithemis festiva, judging from the markings on the thorax.  As this dragonfly was about the same size of Aethrianmanta gracilis, he felt that, for this reason, it is less likely to be Indothemis limbata.  However, he would not rule out this possibility as he has not seen a female Indothemis limbata himself.  He added that if it is really a Indothemis limbata, then this image could be the first female photo of the species taken in Singapore!  I have uploaded a side view shot (see above).

On 6 Sep 2010, I spotted 2 mating pairs but only managed to get a record shot (see right image) as dragonfly usually mates for less than a minute!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Damselfly (25) - Pseudagrion Australasiae

Family : Coenagrionidae
Common Name : Look-alike Sprite
Status : Uncommon
Location : Lornie Trail

After collected more than 50% of the damselfly species in Singapore, it is getting very difficult to add new species to my collection.  So, I was pleasantly surprised to spot this uncommon P. Australasiae at Lornie Trail this morning.  It was drizzing at that time but that did not stop me from photographing it.

(Female - Lornie Trail, 16 Aug 2010)

The female of this species should be rarer than the male.  The male looks very similar to P. Microcephalum where both are light blue in colour.  P. Australasiae is slighter bigger in size than P. Microcephalum.  Accordingly to Mr C.Y. Choong, the blue colour of P. Microcephalum is brighter than P. Australasiae but the ultimate confirmation on these two species is very much relied on the structure of their tail (anal appendages). Pseudagrion Microcephalum has longer anal appendages compared to P. Australasiae.  I have photographed both the male and female of P. Microcephalum but I am not sure whether I have shot the male of P. Australasiae as I did not know how to differentiate these 2 species previously.

(Female closeup - Lornie Trail, 16 Aug 2010)

On 25 Aug 2010, I have finally captured a decent shot of the skittish male.  Yes, it is indeed longer than P. Microcephalum and a strong flyer.  Not an easy species to photograph.  My next target is to shoot them mating!

(Male - Lornie Trail, 25 Aug 2010)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dragonfly (33) - Trithemis Pallidinervis (灰脈蜻蜓)

Family : Libellulidae
Common Name : Dancing Dropwing
Status : Uncommon
Location : Dairy Farm Nature Park, Lornie Trail

This is a medium sized yellowish brown dragonfly with relatviely long legs.  The male and female have similar marking. However, the face of male is metallic purple while the female is rather yellow white in colour.  It likes to perch in the open with its wings nicely folded up which make it easier to photograph.  It is a cooperative dragonfly and not difficult to get nice backgroung.  The challenges are the harsh sunlight and strong wind. 

(Female - Lornie Trail, 14 Aug 2010)

My first sighting of this elegant species was at Dairy Farm Nature Park a few months ago. I could not get any shot at that time as it was perching in the water, a distance from the board walk. I am glad to spot this species again this morning at Lornie Trail.  A little disappointed as I did not handle the harsh sunlight well.  I will definitely revisit Lornie Trail to get some improvement shots in the coming weeks.

(Female - Lornie Trail, 16 Aug 2010)

I revisited Lornie Trail 2 days later and I spotted about 4 to 5 nos. of this species perching near the edge of the reservior.  This lighting was better this time but it was as windy.  The green background in the above picture is the water, a lightly better shot, in my opinion.  I shall revisit this place soon :D

Friday, August 13, 2010

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)

Saturday, August 07, 2010

A Book on Dragonflies of Singapore

A photographic guide to the Dragonflies of Singapore was officially launched on 2 August 2010. The book is published by the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research of the National University of Singapore, and is co-authored by Tang Hung Bun, Wang Luan Keng and Matti Hämäläinen. The following is a short paragraph about the book:

"In 1854 Alfred Russel Wallace collected 30 dragonfly species from Singapore. Since then a total of 124 species have been recorded within the territorial limits of the nation, including seven new records made just in the last two years. Dragonflies of Singapore covers all these species. Informative textual accounts of all species and large, full-colour photographs of almost every species enable the reader to identify almost any dragonfly encountered in the field. This book is an essential tool to enthusiasts, naturalists and general readers who wish to learn about dragonflies. At the same time, it captures quintessentially their sublime and ephemeral beauty."

I am glad to receive a complimentary copy on 19 Aug 2010 from the Authors as I have contributed one of my damselflies photos in the book.  A very well written book with nice, colourful pictures of all 124 dragonflies species.  With such a quality book, it is not expensive at S$22. 

If you wish to purchase a copy of the book, it is now available for order at this nature bookstore.