Monday, February 28, 2011

34. Coeliccia yamasakii (Asahina, 1984)

Number: 34
Family: Platycnemididae
Genus: Coeliccia
Species: Coeliccia yamasakii
Common name(s): N/A
Thai name(s): แมลงปอเข็มท้องยาวยามาซากิ 
Habitat: Uplands forested streams
Province(s) sighted: Khao Kitchakut, Khao Soi Dao (Chantaburi); Koh Chang environs (Trat).
Sightings (by me): Fairly common at the above locations
In flight (that I have seen): December-April (though probably all year)

I recently visited Khao Soi Dao National Park, near Chantaburi. It was a stop-off en route to Khao Kitchakut National Park. And I'm really glad I stopped! Though it was December and probably the worst time to hunt for dragonflies, I still managed to see seven new species for me! One of them was Coeliccia yamasakii, the 3rd Coeliccia species I have posted. It is a great looking damselfly, but one that doesn't like to be in the limelight. I did, however, notice that they return to the same spot if they fly away, often to a leaf that is basking in a small area of sunshine bursting through the heavy tree canopy. 
The male
I saw a number of males, but were difficult to photograph and had to be really stealthy using my 105 mm Sigma Macro lens. One crunch of a twig, one move too many and away it went. I eventually saw a male that liked an exceptionally bright spot, but as I approached it flew away. Knowing that he may return I lay flat on my stomach and waited. eventually, he returned and I managed to capture him (photographically speaking of course). He looks great with his jet black thorax and yellow markings that glisten in the sun.


The female
At Khao Soi Dao, I only saw 2-3 females. However, when I visited Koh Chang, I saw numerous females under the protection of tree cover, near a dried up waterfall. There was just one small pool there, and I even saw a copula! I think the females were waiting for the rains to come again. Seeing so many females gave me the chance to take lots of photographs. 
This side view shows how the thoracic markings differ slightly to that of other species from the genus. 


These two photos show how S9-10 markings vary and so is unreliable for identification. However, 4 small marks seems to be consistent. The first female is probably younger than the second, as I think the markings fade with age.

A copula
I was really fortunate to see a copula on the day I visited Khao Soi Dao. They were intent on staying under lots of cover. This copula was deep inside a rock formation and under tree cover. I had to take a photo using flash, just to see what species it was.


Coeliccia yamasakii is a beautiful species and if you get the chance to visit the eastern part of Thailand, you must try to see this species. I think you can see it all year round, though I am not 100% sure. Many thanks to Noppadon Makbun for leading me to this species.

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