Monday, November 30, 2009

Orthetrum testaceum vs Orthetrum chrysis

In Peninsular Malaysia, Orthetrum testaceum and O. chrysis are quite common red dragonfly species. They look alike and occupy the same habitats - pond, lake and garden. They may appear side by side at the same habitat. How do differentiate them? Well, experienced odonate workers will be able to tell them apart immediately. First, the body colour (particular the thorax) of O. testaceum is much reddish than O. chrysis. Instead, O. chrysis has reddish brown thorax. Apart from that, the size of O. testaceum is slightly larger than O. chrysis. Well, if doubt arises, the best characteristic to distingiush these two species is by investigating their genitalia. O. chrysis has a tuft of setae at the genitalia but O. testaceum lacks of this.

O. testaceum

O. chrysis

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Prodasineura collaris

Prodasineura collaris is just one of the four blue Prodasineura species (P. collaris, P. notostigma, P. interrupta and P. laidlawii) recorded in Peninsular Malaysia. P. collaris is normally found at swamp and forest stream. The blue markings on head and thorax can be used to distinguish P. collaris from the other Prodasineura species.

a male P. collaris

blue markings on head and thorax of P. collaris

Prodasineura notostigma

Only four blue Prodasineura species so far have been recorded in Peninsular Malaysia - P. interrupta, P. notostigma, P. collaris and P. laidlawii. These Prodasineura species have blue marking, but they are readily distinguished by the blue marking on their thorax and head. Showing in this entry is P. notostigma, which is normally found at swamp and forest stream. The head and thorax of P. notostigma have less blue marking compared to the other Prodasineura species. Apart from that, the tail of P. notostigma has no blue marking (total black colour).

a male P. notostigma

the head and thorax of P. notostigma

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tyriobapta torrida

Tyriobapta torrida is a common species found at swampy forest. It likes to perch on tree trunk. The male is in dark blue while the female has strip marking on abdomen. I spotted a wheel pair of Tybriobapta torrida, and immediately I took a few snaps on them. So, I have one more photo for another species in wheel.

a male T. torrida

T. torrida in wheel

Friday, November 27, 2009

Onychargia atrocyana

This tandem pair of Onychargia atrocyana was just perched in front of me, and I was with my camera....... Well, the male O. atrocyana has dark blue colour on thorax while the thorax of female is covered with whitish yellow strips.

Orchithemis pulcherrima

Orchithemis pulcherrima is found at swamp and forest edge. I spotted a good number of them in a slow flowing small stream in an oil palm plantation. The male of O. pulcherrima has two different colour forms - red and blue. Generally, the red form is more common than the blue form. I spotted a wheel pair of O. pulcherrima, and I tried to photograph good them. However, I only managed to get one shot of them in wheel (of course the photo is far from perfect). The mating pair just formed a wheel for very short moment, roughly 30 seconds. Then, the wheel was broken...... it is really challenging to get good shot of O. pulcherrima in wheel. I guess I have try my luck next time.........

a male O. pulcherrima; red colour form

a wheel of O. pulcherrima

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pseudagrion microcephalum vs Pseudagrion australasiae

Pseudagrion australasiae and P. microcephalum are quite similar to each other, and they occupy the same habitat - exposed grassy pond. However, they could be differentaited by the size, of which P. microcephalum is smaller than P. australasiae. Apart from that, the blue colour of P. microcephalum is brighter than P. australasiae. However, 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.

top is P. australasiae and bottom is P. microcephalum

side view of the anal appendages. Top is P. australasiae and bottom is P. microcephalum

Under Water Ovipositing - Pseudagrion australasiae

Pseudagrion australasiae is just another blue damselfly species which looks alike Pseudagarion microcephalum. I will explain the differences between these two Pseudagrion species in another entry. I spotted an ovipositing pair of P. australasiae yesterday, and of course I witnessed the process of ovipositing of the pair. I managed to take a few snaps on the process of ovipositing. Pseudagrion australasiae is just another damselfly species practising submerged oviposition. However, the male took part in the ovipositing by pushing the female down into water, and he was aslo partly submerged into water. Then suddenly the male released the grasp on the female leaving the female alone under water. However, the male was guarding above the water.

Actually, I also witnessed another pair of ovipositing P. australasiae a couple of years ago at different location. I saw the male pushing down the female into water and with himself also fully submerged into water (at least 2-3 cm beneath water). Suddenly, he released the grasp, and he was ejected out from the water.

a male P. australasiae perching on a reed

the male is pushing the female down into water

the female has submerged into water, and the male is also half-submerged (part of the wings of the male submerges into water)

the female is now down into water for ovipositing while the male is guarding above the water

close up of the female ovipositing under water

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Submerged Oviposition - Agriocnemis nana

Agriocnemis nana is one of the smallest damselfly species. I showed some good shots of male and female (matured and immatured) of A. nana here. Today, I bumped into a female of A. nana ovipositing at the water edge of an exposed pond. I did not any male courting the ovipositing female. I was thrilled to see her slowly submerging into water for oviposition. She was backing down into water along the reed to as deep as 5 cm below the water. I just took a few shots of her backing down into water - amazing.

a female of A. nana perching on a reed at the water edge

the female A. nana ovipositing on a reed below water

Oh my god! The female A. nana submerging herself into water for ovipositing

Damselflies in Wheel

It is always difficult to snap good shots on damselflies in wheel. On many occassions I have to be contented with just male individual in focus and female individual out of focus. Unless, I position myself with the camera parallel to the side view of the wheel, then the whole wheel (both the male and female) will be in focus. This takes a lot of patient to do it, and I was lucky today to be rewarded with wheels in focus for two damselfly species - Ceriagrion cerinorubellum and Pseudagrion microcephalum. Though these two shots are not perfect but they are definitely much better than those I took some time ago (click here to see old photo of C. cerinorubellum in wheel and here for old photo of P. microcephalum).

A wheel of Ceriagrion cerinorubellum

A wheel of Pseudagrion microcephalum

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pseudagrion williamsoni

Pseudagrion williamsoni is one of many blue colour damselfly species found in Peninsular Malaysia. It is quite easy to distinguish P. williamsoni from other blue damselfly species as it has green marking on its head and thorax. Pseudagrion williamsoni is less common compared to other blue damselfly species, and it is normally found at bank of forest stream covered with reeds.

a male individual

a female individual

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Odonata Checklist of Paya Indah Wetlands

Paya Indah Wetlands is a regenarated wetlands from ex-mining land. It is located adjacent to Dengkil town in Selangor. The habitat is mainly marshes and lakes or ponds (see photos below). We carried out odonate sampling from December 2006 to March 2007 at the wetlands and recorded 21 odonate species.

Odonata Checklist for Paya Indah Wetlands

Family Coenagrionidae
Agriocnemis femina
Ceriagrion cerinobellum
Ischnura senegalensis
Pseudagrion australasiae
Pseudagrion microcephalum

Family Libellulidae
Acisoma panorpoides
Brachydiplax chalybea
Brachythemis contaminata
Crocothemis servilia
Diplacodes nebulosa
Diplacodes trivalis
Neurothemis fluctuans
Neurothemis tullia
Orthetrum sabina
Potamarcha congener
Rhodothemis rufa
Rhyothemis phyllis
Tholymis tillarga
Tramea transmarina
Trithemis pallidinervis
Urothemis signata

Fadilawati, A., Choong, C.Y., Zainal Abidin, B.A.H. & Saharudin, A. 2008. Diversity of Odonata fauna in Paya Indah Wetlands, Banting, Selangor. In: Elagupillay et al. (eds.) Biodiversity Resources and Conservation Status in Peninsular Malaysia. Department of Wildlife and National Parks, pp. 121-133.

Drepanosticta fontinalis

Actually, Drepanosticta fontinalis (photo below) and D. quadrata are equally common platystid species in Peninsular Malaysia. From my own observation, it seems that D. quadrata is more confined to southern part of Peninsular Malaysia while D. fontinalis is to northern part of Peninsular Malaysia. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that both D. fontinalis and D. quadrata are the same species but different variants. The illustrations of anal appendages for D. fontinalis in Lieftinck (1937) and D. quadrata in Lieftinck (1965) do not seem to be different for me. The blue marking on the abdominal segment 8 is just not too reliable.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gynacantha bayadera

There are 6 Gynacantha species in Peninsular Malaysia i.e. Gynacantha basiguttata, G. corbeti, G. subinterrupta, G. bayadera, G. limbalis and G. risi. Among these, G. bayadera is the smallest in size, and it is readily distinguished from other Gynacantha species by the shape of its anal appendages.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Indocnemis orang

Indocnemis orang is a large size damselfly species. Some time it likes to perch on twig/leaf overhanging forest stream. It may also be found at vegetation on the bank of fast flowing forest stream.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Rhyothemis pygmaea

Rhyothemis pygmaea is definitely an uncommon species. For the very first time, I bumped into it in Sg Bebar, Pahang. It looks alike Rhyothemis obsolescens but with its wings lacking distinct marking as that of R. absolescens. Matti requested a photo of R. pygmaea from me to be included in the upcoming book "Photographic Guide of Dragonflies of Singapore". I have given this photo for the book. Anyway, R. pygmaea is really cute.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Indothemis limbata

Indothemis limbata is a rare and local species. It is normally found at open pond with good vegetation. I spotted I. limbata on a few accassions at open ponds, and whenever it was spotted the number was always small (one or two individuals). Indothemis limbata is always confused with Trithemis festiva. However, I. limbata is lack of orange streaks at abdomen and its wing tips are dark.

Aeshnid Larva

I caught this male aeshnid larva from Sg Sedim Recreational Park, Kedah. I think it is an Indaeschna grubaueri. I'm breeding it, and I keep my fingers cross so that it will emerge.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Cratilla metallica

Cratilla metallica is one of the beautiful dragonfly species due to its metallic blue colour body. It likes to hang around vegatation near to small forest pool because it breeds at the forest pool. The below shots were taken at Gunung Inas Forest Reserve, Kedah.

Vestalis amoena and Vestalis amethystina

There are two Vestalis species in Peninsular Malaysia - V. amoena and V. amethystina. These two species very much resemble to each other. The characteristic to differentiate them is on the structure of their anal appendages (tail). Both the Vestalis are found abundantly in Gunung Inas Forest Reserve, Kedah. I managed to snap a few shots of each of them. Of course, there is noway to tell them apart just from the photos. What I did was to catch them after shooting, and identify them on the spot using my hand lense.

Vestalis amoena

Vestalis amethystina

Gunung Inas Forest Reserve, Kedah

I was away for 5 days to Gunung Inas Forest Reserve in Kedah this week. Forestry Department of Peninsular Malaysia (Jabatan Perhutanan Semenanjung Malaysia) and Forestry Department of Kedah (Jabatan Perhutanan Kedah) organised a scientific expedition to Gunung Inas Forest Reserve. I was there for odonate sampling. We (120 of us) stayed at Sg Sedim Recreational Park (Hutan Lipur Sg Sedim). Sg Sedim Recreational Park is located within Gunung Inas Forest Reserve. The recreational park by the river (Sg Sedim) is beautiful. However, the weather during the expedition was bad - Rain, rain and rain. The dragonflies were definately not happy with this type of weather. Nevertheless, I still managed to record over 30 odonate species in Gunung Inas Forest Reserve. Oh, one more thing I forgot to mention, there are plenty of large leeches in Gunung Inas Forest Reserve! Of course, I got a few leech bites.

Sg Sedim

Sg Sedim

Sg Sedim

Reyau Water Fall at Sg Reyau