Sunday, 7 February 2010

A Colourful Find On A Cloudy Morning

It was cloudy, overcast and a bit gloomy this morning.  Since I was already up, I thought I might as well pay a visit to the pond anyway.

As I had thought, the place was quiet and full of inactivity.  And there was none of the usual chirping of birds to break the silence of the dawn and fill the air with greetings for a new day.

I saw only a few of the usual common odonata species hidden among the grasses, still waking up and getting warmed up for flight and I did not see the usual scene of dragonflies buzzing around patrolling their territories.  Nevertheless, there was a pair of Ischnura senegalensis in tandem, a pair of Pseudagrion microcephalum in wheel, a pair of Copera ciliata in tandem and a few of the Agriocnemis femina just starting to move about more actively.  I took a few photos of all of  them and continued walking around the pond.

Just when I thought that's about the most I will find for this morning, a spot of colours caught my eye.



This brightly coloured damselfly is the Ceriagrion cerinorubellum of the family Coenagrionidae.  The male of this species has hindwing length of 17mm.  According to the Pocket Guide, this is one of the commonest and most colourful member of its family and this damselfly is a ferocious predator, consuming teneral individuals and other damselflies larger than itself.

Yet this was the only damselfly of this species that I found.



It has amazing colours on the thorax and abdomen but its face has a "plasticky" appearance like the Ischnura senegalensis owing to the large mandibles that make up a big proportion of its face.  As you can see in the above photo, it gives the damselfly a seemingly savage look.

I guess its reputation as a ferocious predator explains why it was quite undeterred by me as I got closer to have a good look and take a few photos.  I could move about freely and this tiny damselfly did not even flutter away warily like some of the other species do.

It is as fearless as it looks!



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