Friday, March 4, 2011

75. Euphaea ochracea ochracea (Selys, 1859)

Number: 75
Family: Euphaeidae
Genus: Euphaea
Species: Euphaea ochracea ochracea
Common name(s): Ochraceous Darkie
Habitat: Forested streams (uplands & lowlands)
Province(s) sighted: Nam Nao NP/environs (Petchabun);  Phu Rua NP/environs (Loei); Widespread (Chiang Mai); Widespread (Chiang Rai); Khao Yai (Nakhorn Ratchasima); Khao Kitchakut NP (Chantaburi); Kanchanaburi environs (Kanchanaburi); Koh Chang (Trat).
Sightings (by me): Common and widespread
In flight (that I have seen): April-October

Another member of the Euphaea genus that you will come across from time to time at streams and rivers, is Euphaea ochracea ochracea. I often see it sitting on the edge of twigs and branches overhanging the stream.

The male
The male has red/brown wings (or should that be ochre - probably where it got its name), which are very distinctive and make it very easy to recognise. The male likes to perch on branches and twigs over-looking the river as he waits for prey or a mate.

Some days, you can find many specimens hiding far away from the edge of the streams.

In the hand...

Younger male ...
Here is a youngish male that still has prominent yellow markings. He was a fair distance from the stream at Nam Nao headquarters (30/06/12).

The female
I had only previously seen the female while part of a copula. Until I went to Phu Rua, that is. At a small stream waterfall just outside the town, there were literally hundreds of males and females dotted around. In one opening alone through the trees, there was around 15 females and 5-6 males. What's more, they weren't very shy and I even managed to capture some with my fingers. This was the only species of this genus present, which made identification easy... good job as I still can't tell the difference females of this genus.

In the hand...
This one I caught with my fingers. There were so many of them, I had to catch one!

An old female ... 
This old-looking female I saw recently at a tiny stream under tree shade. She simply didn't move as I approached.

A copula
I have now seen a small number of copula. However, they are extremely difficult to get close to and photograph. These are the best I have so far.

The male then simply flicked the female off with his abdomen and she went straight under the water. She remained for around 1 minute before flying straight up into the air and diving at great speed onto another stem underwater where I lost sight of her. It was an amazing sight.

Courtship display...
Here the male and female are facing each other. Moments later, the male grabbed the female (left) and they began to copulate. 

Another female in action...
Here's another female I saw dive in right at my feet and oviposited for around 25 seconds in an extremely rapid stream section.

Now she is completely submerged.
Amazingly she clung on for up to a minute before flying up and to another submerged bit of weed to continue. My foot was in the water near her and I could feel the strong current. I have no idea how she clung on. These were taken at Erawan Waterfall, Kanchanaburi.

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