Friday, 27 August 2010
I was on my way to the park entrance and was walking past a row of parked cars, most of them with the windscreen wipers all standing up. This practice of lifting the wipers off the glass and leaving it standing up is based on the belief that it will prolong the lifespan of the wiper blades.
Anyway, I then realised there was a dragonfly perched on one of these windscreen wipers.
I looked further up along the row of parked cars and there were dragonflies there too.
So I turned around to look at the ones I had walked past and there was a dragonfly on almost every windscreen wiper as well.
I have been keeping an eye out for insects and birds, looking at trees and shrubs but not at these cars and that's where all the dragonflies are perched. I just had to laugh then!
Each and every dragonfly perched on these wiper blades is the Potamarcha congener of the family Libellulidae. The male has hindwing length of 33-34 mm. It has blue pruinescence on its thorax and base of its abdomen with parallel orange streaks on the distal part of the abdomen till S8. This species is common in open, disturbed habitats and widespread in tropical Asia.
The female is brown and obscurely marked.
I had first come across this species over a year ago and do not recall why I have not mentioned it before.
Anyway, in recent weeks, I have been seeing lots of these dragonflies in many places. I have seen quite a few pairs in wheel but could never get the chance to get any photos. These dragonflies would be in wheel position and in flight for barely a minute and they would be out of it before you can even take a snap.
The female would then oviposit into the water by flipping the tip of its abdomen at various spots to scatter the fertilised eggs in the water while the male hovers overhead keeping guard. The male dragonfly will chase away every dragonfly that comes near the female.
This female dragonfly was ovipositing into the pond.
There were certainly a lot of these dragonflies perched everywhere, mostly in high places.
Thursday, 26 August 2010
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
There was this one afternoon when there were quite a few mating pairs of Pseudagrion australasiae at the pond and I had a great day taking lots of photos of these damselflies in tandem, in wheel and ovipositing.
The Pseudagrion australasiae of the family Coenagrionidae is very similar to the P. microcephalum in a lot of ways but it is slightly larger. The P. australasiae has hindwing length of 20 mm and can be distinguished by the marking on S10 and by its appendages. This species is widely distributed in the Indo-Australian region.
It was quite cool just to watch all of them and learn a bit more about the behaviours of these damselflies.
A pair of Pseudagrion australasiae in tandem before going into wheel position.
A pair in wheel.
Two pairs of P. australasiae, one in wheel and the other in tandem.
Two pairs in tandem with the male in contact guarding while the female oviposits into the grassy pond.
And I will write about some of the observed behaviours another day.
Monday, 23 August 2010
There was a time when I was actively looking and hoping to find stick insects and mantids but without much luck. However, in the last few weeks I have been seeing the Green Mantids, more commonly known as Praying Mantis (Mantis religiosa), in quite a few places and have been happily taking photos of these insects.
The Praying Mantises can be quite shy in a way, and once they know that you have spotted them, quite often, they will try to hide or camouflage themselves by clinging really close to the leaf or stem they're on.
After all, they are cryptically coloured and the greens can match the leaves where they make their homes. I try to keep a distance so as not to disturb them but at times, when you linger nearby, some of them will still try to hide.
Their modus operandi is to stay very still while they wait for an unsuspecting prey to come close enough to be caught. Nevertheless, we are also possible predators to them.
The way they stand, with their front legs held together while they are waiting for prey, makes it look like they are praying.
But I suppose this Praying Mantis was also praying for me to move on and move away...
Sunday, 22 August 2010
Finding this dragonfly was an unexpected surprise. It was quite by chance and was really a lucky strike.
This dragonfly may have perched there undisturbed for a while as it was a quiet day due to the rain and there wasn't anyone around. As such, it would not have been expecting any intrusion to its daydreaming. When I walked by and surprised it, it took off so suddenly only to hit a wall, drop to the floor then take off again to land on another wall.
I was quite as surprised to see a small, dark insect shoot off from nowhere, crash, bounce, drop, then zap off, all in a matter of split seconds. You only get that in the cartoons! And I can just imagine the whole scene again with all the sound effects!
Anyway, when I realised it was a dragonfly, I scrambled for my camera and got two shots before it flew off into the blue and disappeared.
Although not the best photo, it is probably sufficient to enable identification.
This dragonfly could be the Chalybeothemis fluviatilis of the family Libellulidae. The Pocket Guide describes it as follows: a small, dark dragonfly with unmarked body, brownish basal patch on its hindwing, hindwing length of 21 mm, and is uncommon in Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo.
I still have some doubts with its identification and have thought that I could be wrong and it is the Diplacodes trivialis. Having made comparisons, this dragonfly has a very thin, almost straight and unmarked abdomen. And yet... I do think it could be correct except that its appendages are light coloured.
This urbanised area is not its habitat though. Perhaps this dragonfly had gotten confused and lost in this urban jungle?
I am a bit confused too.
UPDATE: As confirmed by our odonatologist of Malaysia, Dragonflyman, it is the Diplacodes trivialis after all in the above photo, one that's aged, which explains the dark colouring.
See further identification/comparison features in his comments.
Saturday, 21 August 2010
Some of my friends would say I go "Wow" at almost every dragonfly and damselfly that I see, which is actually quite true and I don't deny it. Yet, I can still remember when I first came across the Pantala flavescens for the first time early this year and I went, "Wow!"
Of late, I have been seeing quite a few swarms of the Pantala flavescens at a lot of places around Langkawi. Although you can't really see so many of these dragonflies in the above photo, it is because this is only a part of the swarm and they were not all close together, but you get what I mean about seeing them in a lot of places.
Anyway, I guess this must be the "season" for them and I have managed to get a few more photos of these dragonflies to add to my collection.
When I spotted the Pantala flavescens in the padi fields the other day, it was raining. These dragonflies were perched hidden away among the grasses in the rain. In all my previous encounters with this species, they have always perched up high on a twig in the tree so I was quite surprised by the discovery.
Anyway. tiny droplets of rain would collect on their wings and on their legs and from time to time, the dragonfly would just shake it off.
This grasshopper was also out in the rain...
I often enjoy being out there just to watch and observe all these habits and behaviours of these little creatures that never fail to fascinate me and keep me in awe!
And I often wish more people would appreciate nature for what it is and see the beauty in all that nature presents to us!
Thursday, 19 August 2010
One of the places I paid a visit to was the Laman Padi.
I guess I just can't not pop in there if I am in the neighbourhood. After all, I have spotted quite a few species in this place in the past.
But it had started raining by the time I reached Laman Padi and there were hardly any dragonflies buzzing around at all.
I was kept amused by these ducks instead.
It looked like they were having fun in the rain!
Oops! It's the end of the line...
Now you do the hokey pokey and you turn around.
And off they go again.
These ducks certainly quacked me up!
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
It is quite a rare occasion for me to spot two different species of the Lestidae family at the same location in one morning. I was elated.
Hence, spotting the Spreadwing damselfies in wheel had me jumping for joy.
I did not actually jump for joy in the physical sense in case these damselflies take off in flight and I miss the opportunity for a few photos. Otherwise I would have.
And although I did not manage to get the best photos of these damselflies in wheel position or the "Photo Of The Year" as I like to call it, it was still good to have managed to get a few shots.
The difficulty was in getting a good angle for the shoot while at the same time trying not to disturb the damselflies and scare them away. And then there's all the grasses that got in the way of getting a good view.....
Here is the pair of Lestes praemorsus in wheel position.
I was lucky to have spotted them when I did because I had time for just a few shots before they broke off from the wheel position but remained in tandem.
Soon after that, the female damselfly started ovipositing into the grassy pond with the male damselfly in contact guarding until the last of the fertilized eggs have been laid.
I am happy to have had the chance to observe this behaviour of this damselfy species.
To read more about this damselfly and for more photos, click on 'Lestes' in the Tags below.
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
At one of the 'dragonfly spots' I went to, I came across damselflies of the Lestidae family or Spreadwing damselflies. It is always a nice feeling to spot the Spreadwings as it is a rare occasion.
And there were more than one this time.
On all my previous encounters with this damselfly, I could find only one lone male.
Here's a look at the Platylestes heterostylus damselfly that I had found on this day, which is a female.
And here is another female damselfly of the same species. I actually had to check to make sure I was looking at two different damselflies perched at two different spots on the edge of the water.
And this second damselfy was in the midst of some grooming, flexing her abdomen in rather graceful movements.
Now you can understand why I have been so excited about my great dragonfly outing.
Quite a great day indeed!
Click on "platylestes" in the Tags below to see earlier insertions with more information on this species and also for more photos.
Monday, 16 August 2010
After all these weeks, I did finally get out there and I have had a great field day... with dragonflies!
And damselflies and a few other insects too.
There's so much to put down in writing and so many photos to share and talk about but it can't all happen at once. So I'll have to start from the beginning and one at a time...
When I got to the first pond for the day, there were lots of dragonflies buzzing around over the water and as many dragonflies were perched on the grasses at the edge of the pond. What a sight!
How I have missed them!
A lot of these dragonflies were of the Neurothemis spp, both N. fluctuans and N. fulvia, and they were most easily spotted due to their coloured wings. And there were plenty of them! There were also quite a number of red dragonflies around and a few of the other species too.
And it was both amusing and fascinating to watch the males of these species face off on their territorial fights.
It was a hot day and perhaps a bit too bright for photography. Nevertheless, these are some of the pics I took today...
And I would have to wait till another day and time to tell the next part of the story...
I could see the dragonflies buzzing around dancing in the breeze but none would perch. It looked like the swarm was on a journey somewhere.
These drums caught my attention instead...
It is actually a common sight to see these blue-green drums all stacked up. A lot of the fish farms use these drums for flotation and these drums are also used to hold up floating platforms for various other uses.
But do you see the smiley faces too?
Or am I just nuts!