Wednesday, March 2, 2011

63. Vestalaria smaragdina smaragdina (Selys, 1879)

Number: 63
Family: Calopterygidae
Genus: Vestalaria
Species: Vestalaria smaragdina smaragdina
Common name(s): N/A
Thai name(s): แมลงปอเข็มน้ำตกใหญ่ใต้เหลือง, แมลงปอเข็มน้ำตกอกเหลือง
Habitat: Upland shallow, crystal clear and often forested streams
Province(s) sighted: Phu Rua NP, Phu Kradueng NP (Loei); Doi Inthanon (Chiang Mai).
Sightings (by me): Uncommon, except at Phu Kradueng
In flight (that I have seen): April-December

When I first visited Phu Kradeung National Park, Loei, in October 2008, I came across a Vestalis species that I didn't know what it was. I later worked out that it was a fairly rare montane species called Vestalaria smaragdina smaragdina. 

The male
When I first visited the national park, I only saw two males, but as it was very early morning, I managed to get extremely close to one of them by wading carefully through Sat Gairo pond (and ended up with about 20 leeches on my legs, but it was worth it). The second image is uncropped, using a 105 mm Sigma Macro lens. The male is fairly easy to recognise as the bottom half of the thorax is yellow/white. The rest of it is a metallic green except for the white end segments.

The end of the road...
As I walked along the pathway to Sat Anodat pond at first light, I noticed a male had be captured in a web and was being devoured by a spider. 

The female
I recently spotted a hyaline female for the first time at Phu Kradueng NP in October 2012. Oddly enough, she was perched next to an orange-winged female - the only orange-winged specimen I have ever seen at Phu Kradueng.

I recently visited Phu Rua NP, Loei province (04/09/11) and was lucky enough to see a small number of orange-winged males and females. They were very hard to get near, but a little persistence paid off.

Orange winged male
The same as its hyaline winged counterpart, except has bright orange wings. I must admit, I thought it was a different species (I never knew there was an orange winged version), until the ID was confirmed by Noppadon Makbun.

 Orange winged female
The female is similar to that of the male.

Orange-winged female in the hand

Many thanks to Noppadon Makbun regarding the re-classification of this species from Vestalis to Vestalaria.

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