A magical moment with Orthetrum testaceum testaceum

Orthetrum testaceum testaceum (Burmeister, 1839) –

A gorgeous red dragonfly that is quite a frequent visitor to our tropical garden spot! But its recent morning visit a few days ago, on December 12 was exceptionally exciting because it landed on ME and stayed for two whole minutes…unbelievable! And the best part was I was able to capture that magical moment with my very reliable camera Canon PowerShot A60! :D

Orthetrum testaceum testaceum (Burmeister, 1839), resting on Sansevieria Trifasciata 'Golden Hahnii'Looking out into the garden from inside my house that lovely morning, I spotted this brilliant red Orthetrum testaceum testaceum flying in. So out I ran with my camera and sure enough it had landed on our Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Golden Hahnii’, waiting to be photographed. ;)

Excitedly, I quickly snapped a dozen shots before it flew away. As it flew off, I walked away happily, contented that I had captured so many shots.

Then, a few seconds later, to my profound surprise, this stunning red dragonfly detoured and settled on my left shoulder.

Orthetrum testaceum testaceum (Burmeister, 1839), resting on my left shoulder Orthetrum testaceum testaceum (Burmeister, 1839), resting on my left shoulder

I grasped unbelievingly with delight and automatically brought my camera towards it with my right hand, hoping to capture the magical event! But of course my left hand remained ‘frozen’ to prevent any reflex movement on the left shoulder that could trigger its flight. And to my utter astonishment, all 4 shots taken came out great in spite of the angle of take and inability to see the camera’s focus!

Wow! What a marvelous and exciting experience! What a joyous blessing!

I did wonder why it did what it did! Was it grateful that it was photographed and wanted to thank me personally? Does it know that it is loved and admired by me? Does it know that it’s beautiful? Hehe…I’ll rephrase that since this is a male dragonfly….does it know that it’s handsome and greatly admired by humans? Mother nature has such awesome designs for us! O Lord, how great thou art! I just love this hymn of praise to God, “How Great Thou Art”, whose lyrics are found here! :)

Here are my first captures of it in August, 2007.

Orthetrum testaceum testaceum (a female dragonfly)On the left is an image of a female Orthetrum testaceum with greenish brown thorax, followed by a golden brown abdomen with obscure dark markings. Not as striking as the red male, but pretty all the same!

So wonderful to be able to capture this female dragonfly, found unexpectedly flying wildly in our garden in mid-February, 2008 and to post it here so that you can observe the difference. Unlike we humans, the female dragonflies are less glamorous, don’t you agree? ;) View Asia Dragonfly site to see the changes of coloration between an aging and a young female of this beautiful Orthetrum species.


  • Scientific name: Orthetrum testaceum testaceum (Burmeister, 1839)
  • Another name: Libellula testacea Burmeister 1839
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Odonata
  • Suborder: Anisoptera
  • Superfamily: Libelluloidea
  • Family: Libellulidae
  • Genus: Orthetrum
  • Species: testaceum testaceum (Burmeister, 1839)

Habitat: Open areas around rivers, lakes, ponds, marshes.

Location: Found in China, Hainan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines.

Updated on 20080520 –
A female Orthetrum testaceum How lovely to have found this attractive dragonfly resting on the Ponytail Plant in our garden about a month ago.

An adolescent female Orthetrum testaceum I assumed, judging from its smallness (about 1.7 ins long) and well-defined markings on its body.

Last edit: May 29, 2016

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