Agrionoptera insignis

Common Name:
Grenadier, Red Swampdragon
A. insignis
Agrionoptera salomonis (Forster, 1898) 
Agrionoptera variabilis (Kruger, 1902) 
Species Description
Agrionoptera is a genus of dragonflies in the family Libellulidae. The species are found across India, South-east Asia and the Pacific. The genus contains the following species:
            Agrionoptera bartola (Needham & Gyger, 1937) 
            Agrionoptera cardinalis (Lieftinck, 1962) 
            Agrionoptera insignis (Rambur, 1842) - Red Swampdragon
            Agrionoptera longitudinalis (Selys, 1878) 
            Agrionoptera sanguinolenta (Lieftinck, 1962) 
            Agrionoptera sexlineata (Selys, 1879) 

Agrionoptera insignis (Rambur, 1842), is a species (split into numerous subspecies) has a wide range in tropical Asia and Australasia.

It is a medium size dragonfly with slender red abdomen, body length around 40 mm. The abdomen tip is black in colour. The head and thorax is light bright green. Its wings are relatively long. In males, the hindwing is 28-30 mm in length and the total body length ranges from 37-41 mm. The eyes are yellow (brown on top). The thorax has mottled yellow markings, irregular in outline, on a dark metallic green background. As the dragonfly ages, the yellow marks on the thorax darken and merge into the dark background. The abdomen is thin and largely red above, swollen slightly at its base. The last two segments of the abdomen is black. The abdomen of the female is similarly shaped but slightly thicker and duller in colour.

This species is distinguished from the rather similar Lathrecista asiatica by its smaller size, colour pattern of thorax and shape of the abdomen.

A number of subspecies of Agrionoptera insignis are recognised: 
           A. i. insignis occurs in mainland southeast Asia and throughout Sundaland; 
           A. i. allogenes (Tillyard, 1908) occurs in Australia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and possibly New Caledonia; 
           A. i. chalcochiton (Ris, 1915) is known from Simalur and the Mentawai Islands; 
           A. i. insularis (Kirby, 1889) was described from the Solomon Islands; 
           A. i. lifuana (Kimmins, 1953) was described from New Caledonia; 
           A. i. nereis (Lieftinck, 1948) is known from Enggano; 
           A. i. nicobarica (Brauer, 1865) is known from the Nicobar Islands; 
           A. i. papuensis (Selys, 1879) is known from the New Guinea region. 

Hämälänen and Müller (1997) left the issue of the subspecific status of material from the Philippines open. A. i. dorothea Fraser, 1927 from west Bengal in India is sometimes considered as a distinct species, and sometimes as a subspecies or junior synonym, it is left out of consideration for the purposes of this assessment. Considerable confusion persists over the status of some of these subspecies and of other closely related species of Agrionoptera; the whole complex needs to be critically re-examined.

As currently understood the species is very widely distributed, ranging from New Caledonia and Australia to Thailand and Lao PDR, from Myanmar to the Philippines, including China, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Peninsular Malaysia, China Taiwan and Japan. This is a very widely distributed species and it is accessed by IUCN Red List as Least Concern at present. There is a need for further data from parts of the species range and on some of the subspecies, and taxonomic issues need to be resolved. 


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