Tuesday, April 26, 2011

118. Onychothemis testacea testacea (Laidlaw, 1902)

Number: 118
Family: Libellulidae
Genus:  Onychothemis
Species:  Onychothemis testacea testacea
Common name(s): Riverhawker, Stellate River Hawk
Thai name(s): แมลงปอบ้านป่าวงลาย
Habitat: Forested streams, often exposed areas (mid- uplands)
Province(s) sighted: Khao Yai environs (Nakhorn Ratchasima); Phu Ruea environs (Loei)
Sightings (by me): Uncommon
In flight (that I have seen): April-July (longer, I'm sure)

At Khao Yai, I stayed at a nice resort, called Jungle House Hotel. It was good in the fact that I was about a 5 minute walk to a river, about 8 metres across and quite deep (it is used for elephant trekking as I found out). I saw a new species from the other side of the river and tried to wade across. It got too deep and I forgot that I had my macro lens in my pocket! Now I need to replace the contacts/electronic parts, which hopefully won't be so expensive. I addition, the blasted dragonfly flew away!

I returned two days later to the same spot in hope of seeing it again. Unfortunately, there were no specimens present. So I walked along the bank and noticed a really shallow part of the river (about 6 inches deep). I slowly waded through it and saw 5-6 individuals of the species I had seen earlier. They were fighting amongst themselves under a bush which overhung the river. Every now and then, one would land briefly but enough for me to take some photos. Upon my return home I discovered it to be a male Onychothemis testacea testacea.

The male
The male is a large dragonfly, distinguished by its prominent yellow bands along the abdomen and bright green eyes. For some reason, it reminds me of a classic-looking dragonfly. This male loved that stick! He would return to it over and over again and let me get really close.