Wednesday, March 2, 2011

57. Trithemis aurora (Burmeister, 1839)

Number: 57
Family: Libellulidae
Genus: Trithemis
Species: Trithemis aurora
Common name(s): Crimson Marsh Glider, Crimson Dropwing, 
Red Top Skimmer, Down Dropwing
Thai name(s): แมลงปอบ้านใต้ผู้ม่วง, แมลงปอบ้านไตรมิตรผู้ม่วง, แมลงปอบ้านแดงเหลืองเล็ก

Habitat: Exposed ditches, ponds and lakes to forested trickles and streams (uplands & lowlands)
Province(s) sighted: Phu Wiang NP (Khon Kaen); Nam Nao NP/environs (Petchabun);  Phu Kradueng, Phu Rua NP/environs (Loei); Widespread (Chiang Mai); Widespread (Chiang Rai); Khao Yai (Nakhorn Ratchasima); Khao Soi Dao NP, Khao Kitchakut NP (Chantaburi); Kanchanaburi environs (Kanchanaburi); Koh Chang (Trat); 
farmer's pond (Prachaub Khiri Khan)
Sightings (by me): Extremely common
In flight (that I have seen): February-December

A very common dragonfly yet beautiful in every way, is Trithemis aurora. There are three species of dragonfly in the Trithemis genus and I have seen all three. I've spotted this species at large lakes to pinprick-sized pools and from large fast-moving rivers to tiny trickles. They don't seem too fussy.

The male
The adult male is really easy to spot and cannot be confused with any other species. With its vivid red/purple colour it really stands out. It also likes to perch on branches and twigs in the hot sunshine, often in the obelisk position (doing a king of hand stand). 

You have to be quick to photograph them before their wings close.

An early explorer ... not put off by the torrential rain.

In the hand ...

The sub-adult male
I saw a sub-adult male for the first time in October 2010 at Phu Wiang National Park, Khon Kaen. Before I saw this specimen, I had only seen teneral yellow specimens and fully mature adults. It really is at the 'in-between' stage.

The teneral male
The young/teneral male is very similar to the female and begins life in yellow, which will turn bright red/purple in time.

This specimen has just emerged and is extremely soft. He hasn't even started to turn yellow yet. I think the slight colour/patternation at the base of the wings looks great in this photo.

This one is slightly older than the above (more yellow)

In the hand ...

The female
The adult female is very similar to the young male, but has more black on the abdomen. They are as common as the males and co-habit very well.

The female close up ...

The teneral female
This little specimen I managed to catch with my fingers. She flew away unharmed afterwards. It shows her thoracic markings very well. It's very similar to the adult female, but lighter in colour and still has the typical 'teneral fresh' wings.

Teneral female in the hand

I have seen this species all over Thailand and is a great dragonfly to photograph. If you visit any decent river or uplands pond, you are sure to see this species.


  1. Thank you so mutch Dennis for your comment on my sides on Pbase. Your side is very good and you have lay down very mutch work to this. Will came back later and see more.
    Regards Gunnar Jenssen.

  2. Thanks for your blog, with your help i was able to identify this dragonfly. Keep up the good work!

  3. Trong các loài chuồn chuồn đỏ thì đây là loài tuyệt đẹp nhất. Tôi coi loài chuồn chuồn này là nữ hoàng chuồn ớt (đỏ). Cám ơn bạn
    In the red dragonfly species, this is the most beautiful species. I considered this species is the queen dragonfly dragonfly peppers (red). Thank you