Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Pantala flavescens (Fabricius, 1798)

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum/Division:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Order:Odonata
Family:Libellulidae
Genus:Pantala
Species:P. flavescens
Common Names:Wandering Glider
Status:Common

Description

This predominantly yellowish dragonfly has a tapering abdomen and a series of long diamond-shaped spots oriented along the mid-dorsal line of the abdomen. The hindwings are very broad with a tiny but consistent dark mark at the tip. Males and females are similar. In males, the hindwing is 39 to 41 m in length and the total body length ranges from 45 to 47 mm.

Read more about the Odonata order.
Read more about the Libellulidae family.

Distribution

The most widespread dragonfly species in the world. Colonised warm temperate and tropical zones in Asia, Africa and the Americas. Rarely seen in southern Europe.

Localities

Seen in open areas throughout Singapore.

General Biology

It can be found in the city, parks, ponds, coastal areas, forest canopy, grassland and many other open areas in Singapore. It is an incredible migrant, hence the common name. It typically disperses soon after it can fly, far from the waters where it emerges. By its own powers of flight and chance encounters with monsoon winds, it has managed to colonise many regions in the world.

This dragonfly is often present in swams ranging from 20 or so to hundreds of individuals, circling about 20 metres above the ground with periodic glides, never perching. They are probably hawking for food. They can sometimes be found far away from the water, with both sexes mixing with other species of libellulid dragonflies. When they do reach the water, the dragonflies pair off for copulation. Females deposit eggs singly amongst water lilies and in roadside puddles. The larvae develop quickly, which allows this species to take advantage of temporary water sources. Unlike most other libelluids, Pantala flavescens perches vertically.

References

Tang, H. B., L. K. Wang & M. Hämäläinen, 2010. A Photographic Guide to the Dragonflies of Singapore. Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, National University of Singapore, Singapore. 222 pp.

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