Sunday, February 27, 2011

20. Calicnemia miles (Laidlaw, 1917)

Number: 20
Family: Platycnemididae
Genus: Calicnemia
Species: Calicnemia miles
Common name(s): N/A
Thai name(s): แมลงปอเข็มหญ้าหางส้มธรรมดา, แมลงปอเข็มคาลดำแดง
Habitat: Sluggish (almost dried-up) uplands streams, under heavy tree cover
Province(s) sighted: Doi Inthanon (Chiang Mai)
Sightings: Scarce
In flight (that I have seen): April (though I am sure it's longer)
Species easily confused with: Calicnemia chaseni; Calicnemia erythromelas

When I visited Chiang Mai for 2 months in March-May 2010, one of the species Noppadon Makbun told me to look out for was Calicnemia miles. I look for it, as well as many other species, but I thought it was going to elude me. Then, one day, in late April I saw two males and a female high up Doi Inthanon. They like really dark areas and maybe I had just missed them before. But once I had noticed the male, it was really obvious.

The male
The male is stunning, with red, black and white stripes on the thorax and a bright red abdomen. The end segments are completely black.

The female
The female is similar to the male, but is much duller in comparison and the abdomen is more robust.

This female was busy cleaning herself off following ovipositing.

A copula
Amazingly, I went back to see if I could find them again two days later (as I wasn't happy with the original photos) and there they were... in a copula! I was so happy to see that.

I watched the copula for a while and was really happy when the female began ovipositing. Unfortunately, they really liked to be a darkened, shaded area so I had to use flash. She likes to lay her eggs on rotting roots, in the minimal amount to water. The tiny stream was almost dry.

I'm not sure of the distribution of this species. All I know is that it is in flight while I was in Chiang Mai, in April. Also, if you look for this species, it loves shaded areas, so look carefully!

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