Sunday, February 27, 2011

21. Calicnemia erythromelas (Selys, 1891)

Number: 21
Family: Platycnemididae
Genus: Calicnemia 
Species: Calicnemia erythromelas
Common name(s): N/A
Thai name(s): แมลงปอเข็มหญ้าปลายดำ
Habitat: Uplands man-made pond (though this probably isn't accurate)
Province(s) sighted: Doi Inthanon (Chiang Mai)
Sightings (by me): Extremely rare (just this solitary male)
In flight (that I have seen): April (full flight unknown)
Species easily confused with: Calicnemia chaseni; Calicnemia miles

On my last day up Doi Inthanon (April 10, 2010), I got on my motorbike and headed about 5 kms away from the main headquarters. I seemed to be going nowhere until I came across a small man-made lake high up in the mountains. I decided to have a quick look and saw a number of upland species, which I already had good photos of. My battery was about to die on me, and the batteries on my flash had already gone. I had also taken over 4,000 photos in 7 days there. It was time to give up... well, not quite. As I walked I noticed what looked like Calicnemia miles. Until I noticed the length of the black on its abdomen. I wasn't sure what it was and took a number of photos in fading light and then my battery finally gave in too. I sent the photos to Noppadon Makbun and he confirmed that it was indeed Calicnemia erythromelas. I later found out it's a rare montane species. I was thrilled. Unfortunately, they aren't the best photos in the world and I didn't get to see the female, but I'm happy to at least see it.

The male
Very similar in size and colour to Calicnemia miles, but doesn't have red on the thorax. Its most obvious feature is the last segments of the abdomen which are completely black. Looks like it's been dipped in paint.