Habitat: China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand
Status: No Conservation Concerns
Frequently found flitting over forest streams is this absolutely breathtaking creature: the Common Flashwing (Vestalis amethystina).
This is actually a kind of damselfly, not a dragonfly. People easily get the two confused but here’s the trick: if you see one resting on a leaf or twig, a dragonfly will have its wings spread out (like a butterfly does). However, if it’s a damselfly, its wings will be together pointed upwards (as in the photos above and below). There are of course other characteristics that differ between the two, like wing shape and eye positioning (read about other differences here) but that’s the way that I remember them, anyways.
The Common Flashwing is easily identified by its incredible wings. They appear to be transparent when looked at straight on… but when they catch the light their true colors (hah!) are revealed. The wings iridescence will sparkle purple and blue, giving them the appearance of living fairies!
Especially during takeoff it’s a remarkable sight:
The total body length of a male is 50 to 56 mm. The rest of the body is metallic green with flashes of bronze. What a beauty, huh?