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I took these photos around noon in mid August in Hsinchu county Taiwan. I've seen many dragonfly varieties but I've never seen anything like this before.

Its body is about 5 cm long and very thin compared to the ones shown in the related questions below. The midsection looks strangely shaped to me, as if it is bent upwards in the back and suddenly ends, and a very thin "tail section" was then added below it.

strange dragonfly seen in north Taiwan in August

strange dragonfly seen in north Taiwan in August

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This dragonfly damselfly is from the species Pseudocopera ciliata. Dragon fly anatomy changes between species and there is not definitive answer for why it looks like that, the best guess i can give is that it may assist the female as she tries to find the hookup point for mating.

General Information

More Information(Pay-wall)

This is in Chinese but confirms presence in Taiwan: http://gaga.biodiv.tw/new23/s3-37.htm

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for that. :) $\endgroup$ – Andrew Aug 15 at 9:53
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    $\begingroup$ I added an image that addresses the peculiar shape, feel free to change it. Thank you for the very speedy species identification! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Aug 15 at 9:57
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    $\begingroup$ Fantastic, thank you for that. I have been to Taiwan and I think it is a very beautiful place. No worries. $\endgroup$ – Andrew Aug 15 at 10:02
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    $\begingroup$ Sure, I did some research and tried my best (check the answer). Remember to click the tick, approving them definitivel answers :) $\endgroup$ – Andrew Aug 15 at 10:24
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    $\begingroup$ yep, I've accepted several thousand answers across multipe SE sites, I usually give it at least a few days for comments and additional answers to accumulate. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Aug 15 at 10:28
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Thanks to @Andrew's answer for identifying the genus and species, but there's an important point to be made.

I showed this page to a friend and they immediately said "Oh, that's not a dragonfly!!"

It is not a dragonfly, it's a damselfly!

...why the shape looks so weird?

While this doesn't explain exactly why it looks so "weird", it does explain why it would look weird if it were thought to be a dragonfly!

There are four ways to identify the difference between the two. The categories are

  1. Eyes: relative sizes and distance between them
  2. Body shape
  3. Wing shape
  4. Position of the Wings at Rest

For more see:

And these two excellent videos:


Example of a Damselfly, cropped from Ischnura heterosticta: Female common bluetail damselfly. Taken in Swifts Creek, Victoria:

enter image description here

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