Dragonflies of Sumatra


Neurothemis fluctuans - Female Dragonfly

Around 5680 different known species of the insect order Odonata (Dragonflies and Damselflies) exist in the world today although it is reported to be closer to 7000 species which means there is an estimated 1000-1500 species awaiting description.

The suborder Zygoptera (Damselflies) contain 2,739 species in 19 families
The suborder Anisoptera (Dragonflies) contain 2,941 species in 12 families

Since 1970 an estimated 38 species have been described annually therefore with an undiminished rate of description an estimated 95% of all species will be described by 2030.

Neurothemis terminata - Female Dragonfly

Crocothemis servilia - Ruddy Marsh Hawk (male)

Ruddy Marsh Hawk Dragonfly

On a lengthy trip to Sumatra during 2012 I recorded a number of species of dragonflies some known and hardly on the 'Red List of endangered species' and others unknown to me and still after much research avoid blessing me with their true identity!
Hence this post provides popular known species and species without a positive confirmed id.

Orthetrum-luzonicum (Tri-coloured Marsh Hawk) dragonfly

Orthetrum luzonicum - Male Dragonfly

Orthetrum luzonicum commonly known as the Tri-Coloured Marsh Hawk spotted along with many other species on the shores of Lake Kawa (Lau Kawa) which is located at the base of Gunung Sinabung (Mount Sinabung) a stratovolcano on the Karo Plateau in Karo Regency, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

Orthetrum luzonicum - dorsal view

Orthetrum luzonicum - Female Dragonfly

Acisoma panorpoides - Male Dragonfly

Acisoma panorpoides - Female Dragonfly

Acisoma panorpoides spotted on the shores of Lake Toba in North Sumatra Indonesia. This dragonfly is commonly known as the Grizzled Pintail or Trumpet Tail.

Trithemis Aurora - Crimson Marsh Glider (male)

Immature Trithemis aurora - Male Dragonfly

Trithemis aurora commonly known as the Crimson Marsh Glider seen on the shores of Lake Toba from Samosir Island in North Sumatra, Indonesia.

Dragonfly without positive identification

Same Dragonfly with an almost dorsal view

This dragonfly was spotted in dense high altitude jungle at about 2000m in altitude in thick forest littered with primitive Tree Ferns and the likes on Samosir Island which is situated in the middle of the huge extinct crater lake of Lake Toba (Danau Toba).
The unidentified Dragonflies below were spotted not too far away, certainly off the beaten track, the mountains here divide one side of Samosir Island from the other and can only be crossed by foot or with a motorbike, roads being almost none existant hence these dragonflies have an undisturbed time of it.

Unidentified Dragonfly - Samosir Island, Lake Toba, Sumatra

Unidentified Dragonfly - Samosir Island, Lake Toba, Sumatra

Orthetrum sabina sabina


Orthetrum sabina or Green Marsh Hawk Dragonflies (mating pair)

Female Orthetrum sabina - Slender Skimmer Dragonfly

Mating Pair of Slender Skimmers (Orthetrum sabina sabina) spotted in wet but uncultivated paddy fields on the outskirts of Berastagi, a mountain hill station on the Karo Plateau in North Sumatra, Indonesia.

Neurothemis ramburii - Male Dragonfly

Orthetrum villosovittatum - Female Dragonfly

Orthetrum villosovittatum - dorsal view of female

Orthetrum villosovittatum - Male Dragonfly

Fiery Skimmer Dragonfly or Orthetrum villosovittatum spotted again on the Karo Plateau of North Sumatra.

Orthetrum testaceum - (Orange Skimmer) Male Dragonfly

Spotted in wet but uncultivated rice paddies near the Karo town of Berastagi in North Sumatra, Indonesia.

And that concludes this post on Dragonflies of Sumatra, obviously here we just have a few of the many species that can be found if you have the time and the patience to wander around this huge tropical island of the Indonesian Archipelago...

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