Variegated green skimmer (Orthetrum sabina) adult freshly emerged

Janice Ang photographed a variegated green skimmer (Orthetrum sabina) emerging from its final moult.  Dragonfly larvae moult a number of times while living as an aquatic predators. The larvae climb onto plant stems and moult one final time, the adults emerge, the body and wings expand in size and harden over a few hours and then fly away. The adult dragonflies do not moult anymore.

The exoskeletons left behind on the plant stems are known as exuviae.  In the past, these exuviae were collected and used in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine).

Photo 1. Dorsal view of an adult dragonfly that has just emerged. Photo courtesy Janice Ang. Mandai. 19 January 2022


Photo 2. Lateral view of adult dragonfly resting and waiting for body and wings to expand and harden. The exuvia shows the slit in the head region through which the adult emerged. Mandai. 19 January 2022.


Photo 3. The body and wings of the dragonfly have expanded half hour into the observation. Mandai. 1201 h. 19 January 2022.


Read this post and this post by Dr Leong Tzi Ming. Tang Hung Bun also posted  about dragonflies at Bishan Park.  Readers who are interested in dragonflies could consider joining the NParks Dragonfly Watch on March 2022.


  1. Dragonflies of Our Parks and Gardens by Robin Ngiam © 2011

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