There was this one afternoon when I came across so many differently coloured damselflies in the padi fields that I was just feeling surprised!
Are there really so many different species of damselflies here that I did not see till now? Even if I eliminated the possibility of the male and female of a species having different colour forms, I still would have counted more than one species if they were different species at all?
These damselflies were so tiny. And as it happened, it was rather breezy that afternoon that every blade of grass swayed in the hushest of breezes. It made photographing them slightly difficult but not impossible. What it needed was a bit more skills and definitely plenty of patience!
And as I have found out now, all those damselflies turned out to be of one single species after all...
What I have been talking about is the Agriocnemis femina of the family Coenagrionidae, which is one of the smallest species of damselflies that exist. The hindwing length measures only 10mm and even the girth of its abdomen is just a fraction of that of the grass stem!
Never mind that it is the smallest species and you almost get cross-eyed trying to examine every feature with the naked eye, it is probably also one of the most confusing species for having so many different colour forms or colour changes with maturity and females being polymorphic as well.
Shown above is the mature male damselfly of this species with white pruinosity covering on its thorax, while captured below is a half-mature male of the same species. You can see that the white pruinescence has not completely developed over its thorax and it has faint orange-reddish marking on the tip of the abdomen, similar to the full-grown adult male.
The next image shows an immature male having olive green markings on its thorax and with bright orange at the tip of its abdomen. Besides it's small size, this orange marking is the only distinctive feature to differentiate it from the Ishnura senegalensis..
This damselfly that is almost all red is an immature female of the same species. Its small size is a good differenting feature from other species.
And here's an adult female of the Agriocnemis femina. Again, it is very similar to the Ischnura senegalensis, except for its tiny size.
All these photos were taken at a pond next to the padi fields. This damselfly species breed in stagnant and slow-flowing water and is widespread in the Indo-Australian tropics.
What a day for Odonata identification! For me, at least...