Saturday, February 26, 2011

16. Ceriagrion auranticum (Fraser, 1922)

Number: 16
Family: Coenagrionidae
Genus: Ceriagrion 
Species: Ceriagrion auranticum 
Synonyms: Ceriagrion latericium (Lieftinck, 1951)
Common name(s): N/A
Thai name(s): แมลงปอเข็มสีพื้นเขียวส้ม
Habitat: Densely covered foliage near ponds/lakes, lowlands (and occasionally uplands)
Province(s) sighted: Widespread (Khon Kaen); Nam Nao NP (Petchabun); Khao Kitchacut (Chantaburi); Khao Yai NP (Nakhorn Ratchasima); Widespread (Chiang Mai).
Sightings (by me): Common (though seemingly less so now)
In flight (that I have seen): July-January
Species easily confused with: None

The first Ceriagrion species I saw in Khon Kaen was Ceriagrion auranticum. It used to be common, but I seem to see less and less of them nowadays. It is one of twelve species of Ceriagrion known in Thailand and I have now seen seven. I would say that this is the most common. 

The male 
The male has a striking reddish/orange abdomen and greenish thorax. They are extremely skittish and fairly difficult to get close to. However, if you spot one, try looking in the longer grasses nearby. Sometimes there are many males and females hiding there. 

The sub-adult males
Young and newly emerged males are not often seen - and are difficult to ID. However, only C. auranticum was the only present species of the genus when I saw these specimens.

A sub-adult male. The abdomen is right, yet the thorax isn't in full colour.

Here's a newly emerged male similar to the specimen above, yet the abdomen is almost translucent and the wings are very 'fresh'.

The female
The female is very similar to the male and seems to have 2 distinct stages. One has more of a grey/brown abdomen and the other is far closer to that of the male, being reddish in colour (is this the final stage of maturity?). Both stages I have seen as part of a copula, though never got a decent photo. Here is the most common form of the female.

The 'red' female 

This specimen has distinct black dorsal markings at on the end segments, quite often seen with the females of this species.

Ceriagrion auranticum can be spotted all around Khon Kaen and I have also seen it at numerous places around Thailand. It seems to be most abundant in the winter months, most commonly seen from October-January and likes to hide in thick overgrowth on the edge of ponds and lakes, though I have spotted the species near slow moving rivers too.

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