Saturday, July 30, 2011

000. Onychargia atrocyana (white pruinosed form)

Number: 000
Family: Platycnemididae
Genus:  Onychargia
Species:  Onychargia atrocyana (white pruinosed form
(Common name(s): Marsh Dancer, Shorttail, Black Marsh Dart
Thai name(s): แมลงปอเข็มพุ่มผู้ดำ
Habitat: Small natural uplands farmer's pond
Province(s) sighted: Nam Nao environs (Petchabun).
Sightings (by me): Rare
In flight (that I have seen): July (though must be longer)

In bamboo shelter (from the rain) at a farmer's pond 2 kms south of Nam Nao town, I saw a damselfly that easily won strangest specimen of the day award. It is clearly male, Onychargia atrocyana (see entry). However, I have seen hundreds and hundreds of this species and I have never seen one that has white pruinescence. 

Noppadon Makbun took a look at the photos and he said that he has only seen the pruinosed form in China. I think it looks great and I am going to return to the same place on Saturday to see if I can find the female and see if it, too, takes on this form. Ironically, its common name is Black Marsh Dart... maybe it should be White Marsh Dart. 

And though it's not a separate species from Onychargia atrocyana, I believe it deserves its own blog page.

This has now been revised and has a more recent page as it has in fact been separated.

142. Phyllothemis eltoni (Fraser, 1935)

Number: 142
Family: Libellulidae
Genus:  Phyllothemis
Species:  Phyllothemis eltoni
Common name(s): N/A

Thai name(s): แมลงปอบ้านเอลตัน
Habitat: Small natural uplands pond
Province(s) sighted: Nam Nao environs (Petchabun).
Sightings (by me): Rare
In flight (that I have seen): July (though must be longer)

A few weeks back, I saw T. irregularis for the first time in Khao Yai. That meant I had photographed both species in the genus... except male T. irregularis. Then at the same pond as the two previous posts (144/145), I saw, what I didn't think was male, T. irregularis simply because of the colour / markings. However, there are many differences with this specimen that don't seem to match either species. As it turns out, I was correct that it wasn't T. irregularis... however, it isn't even that genus. It is, in fact, a rare specimen indeed... Phyllothemis sp. It is probably P. eltoni, but could be another similar species.

The male
The male is black with blueish markings on both the thorax and the abdomen. The wings are hyaline, stigma black. The markings on both the abdomen and the thorax are very distinct. 

Many thanks to Noppadon Makbun for the ID.

141. Nepogomphus walli (Fraser, 1924)

Number: 141
Family: Gomphidae
Genus:  Nepogomphus
Species:  Nepogomphus walli
Common name(s): N/A
Thai name(s): N/A
Habitat: Exposed but heavily tree-lined uplands ponds
Province(s) sighted: Nam Nao environs (Petchabun).
Sightings (by me): Rare
In flight (that I have seen): July

Just as I was cursing that last dragonfly flying away, another new species landed right in front of me on the tall reeds.
Again... one shot, it was off, high up into the trees. Still, at least this shot is pretty good and should be good enough for ID.

Finally, this has now been looked identified as Nepogomphus walli, through the expert eyes of Noppadon Makbun and Tom Kompier. With thanks.

As well as seeing the male, I also saw the female. This one was a good 25 metres from the water, hiding in the reeds, under banana trees. She was also extremely difficult to get near, but at least she only flew a little further along each time.

140. Idionyx selysi (Fraser, 1926)

Number: 140
Family: Synthemistidae
Genus:  Idionyx 
Species:  Idionyx selysi (probably)
Common name(s): 
Thai name(s): แมลงปอใหญ่เซลิส
Habitat: Exposed but heavily tree-lined uplands ponds
Province(s) sighted: Nam Nao environs (Petchabun).
Sightings (by me): Rare
In flight (that I have seen): July (though I assume much longer)

A week had gone by and I returned to the ponds around Nam Nao town. I arrived early to the place I finished at last time, which was 1 kms from the town centre. This time, however, the weather had taken a turn for the worse. Heavy rain the night before, strong winds, heavily overcast, dull and more rain on the way. Worse still, there wasn't a single dragonfly on the water. Last week, there were hundreds. I worked my way through the weeds/marsh and still couldn't find any. I moved on. 

I drove past the town and continued around 4 kms north. I saw a small, but natural pond, surrounded by lots and lots of reeds and bamboo... maybe some will be resting there! It was difficult to get down the steep banking and I slipped a million times. As soon as I got near the bamboo, I noticed a skittish dragonfly, flapping away on a tiny reed, deep under the cover of the bamboo. I set up my camera and, in the windiest conditions in the world, tried my luck, using flash. It was blurred! Worse still, the flash scared the dragonfly and it flew upwards, in a 'bouncy' flight, similar to that of T. pallidinervis. The wind caught it and carried it away. Aaaargh! Gone for good. This photo is the only one I have and it isn't very good. 

This species has now been identified by Noppadon Makbun. He said it is 'likely' to be Idionyx selysi. It has a process pointing upwards on S10, which you can clearly see (unless you are me and didn't see it)

Many thanks to Noppadon for the ID (even from this terrible photo).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

139. Anax indicus (Lieftinck, 1942)

Number: 139
Family: Aeschnidae
Genus:  Anax
Species:  Anax indicus
Common name(s): Elephant emperor
Thai name(s): แมลงปอยักษ์เขียวอินเดีย
Habitat: Exposed uplands farmer's ponds 
Province(s) sighted: Nam Nao environs (Petchabun).
Sightings (by me): Rare
In flight (that I have seen): July (though must be longer)

At the same pond (Road 2216, 8 kms south of Nam Nao town) that I saw I. carnatica, I saw a large dragonfly move rapidly along the margins. When it came close to me, I knew it was genus Anax, but it was moving too quickly to determine which species. I continued photographing and observing other species present and then I saw it again. This time, every time it appeared, lots of males from other species would attack it and it seemed to then disappear for good. Finally, just before I was ready to move on, the female of the same species appeared and rapidly flew from edge to edge of the pond ovipositing as it went (I have seen photos of the female lowering herself down a stem to oviposit). This female seemed to skim her caudal appendages along the surface of the water - unless she was cleaning off after ovipositing???. This was a more green/brown coloured female, with the same yellow/black abdomen as the male. To my surprise, when the female appeared near me, the male arrived and hovered almost motionless above her. I quickly got out my camera (I had just packed away), and hoped that they would come round again as this seemed to be the pattern. Eventually, the female appeared again and I was armed with my camera. I actually managed to get a few pretty good shots considering my camera equipment's limitations. The female, however, was just far too quick to photograph (I just kept getting photos of water).
When I returned home, I saw that there are five species in the Anax genus, known in Thailand. I already have good photos of A. immaculifrons, so it was a toss up between A. guttatusA. indicusA. nigrofasciatus and A. panybeus

This species has now been identified by Oleg Kosterin as Anax indicus, and is a new provincial record!

The male...
The male is simply beautiful. Obviously, I only saw the male in flight, but I still think the photos are good enough for ID. For its size it was a very quiet flyer. The most noticeable thing was the blue dorsal patch on S1-2, which really stands out when it is in flight. 

Note: it almost seems to fold in its caudal appendages during flight. These photos are uncropped, using a 300 mm Sigma lens.

Many, many thanks to Oleg Kosterin for the ID and information regarding identification of the species. Also, thanks to Noppadon Makbun for his comments.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

138. Indothemis carnatica (Fabricius, 1798)

Number: 138
Family: Libellulidae
Genus:  Indothemis
Species:  Indothemis carnatica
Common name(s): Light-tipped Demon
Habitat: Exposed upland ponds and lakes
Province(s) sighted: Nam Nao NP/environs (Petchabun); Pond at Phu Ruea NP (Loei); lowland pond (Udon Thani).
Sightings (by me): Uncommon
In flight (that I have seen): July-November
Yesterday (23/07), I visited a number of locations en route to Nam Nao town centre, along road 2216. I decided to visit this area, as it is all uplands. Firstly, I visited a waterfall that looked like dragonfly paradise. It turned out to be N. chinensis heaven, as that was pretty much all that was there, though there were hundreds of them.
I then decided to travel along the road and stop at any waterway that looked good. 8 kms south of Nam Nao town, there was a small farmer's pond.  Here, I instantly noticed a small blue dragonfly that could have easily been mistaken for D. trivialis. However, when I reached the pond, I noticed that there were a number of them and it was definitely genus Indothemis (I had seen I. limbata earlier in the season). Upon closer inspection, I realised it was most certainly a new species for me. When I returned home I discovered that there are only two species in the genus, so it must be Indothemis carnatica and searching on the Internet showed my ID to be correct.
The male
Similar to I. limbata, but different in a number of ways. Both thorax and abdomen are uniform royal blue (I. limbata is black thorax/royal blue abdomen). I. carnatica has a black frons (face), where I. limbata is blue. Also, the main thing for me, is at the base of the wings. I. limbata has a fairly large patch of black basally, whereas I. carnatica is very small in comparison.

Since I first saw this species, I have now seen it at Nam Nao NP, Phu Ruea NP and a small pond 70 kms east of Udon Thani.


Here, you can see that the male has a black frons (face), unlike I. limbata which is blue.

A teneral male

Here is a male, which, at this stage looks very much like the female ...


The female...
The female is far less common than the male and I have spotted only very few females. The mature female is similar to that of the male, except it is more robust. They are a dull brown/yellow colour.
I initially thought that this was A. aethra, as it looks very similar. Though the markings are different, I just thought it was an old female.

The female was correctly ID'd by Noppadon Makbun. Thank you so much! Not a new species, but a new female!


Here she is in her natural position... very similar to that of the genus Aethriamanta.

Now in the hand, it gives a good idea of size etc.

Note: the small spot on the labrum (upper lip)

Teneral female
The teneral female is almost identical to that of the teneral male ...

The copula... 
A female appeared and then about 6 males rapidly appeared too... loud crashing sounds ensued and the winner grabbed his girl. Unfortunately, they decided to land right at my feet and photography was almost impossible. This was the best I got. I will get better ones one day. Also, what was interesting with this copula. As I observed it, the male remained attached (in tandem) with the female and they flew around as she oviposited. I naturally thought that the female would oviposit with the male hovering above, but they most definitely oviposited still in tandem.

One other thing I found interesting about this species. They were abundant at 1 farmer's pond. At all the other ponds I visited (some less than half a kilometre away) there were none, even tough it was the same altitude and same kind of pond/environment. Yet I saw I. limbata present at other ponds, but not the one where I. carnatica was present. Maybe they cannot co-habit... I'm not sure. 

Now I know... yes, they DO co-habit. Noppadon has informed me that he saw both species at Nam Nao Helicopter Pad lake! Thanks for the info, Noppadon.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

000. Tetrathemis irregularis hyalina (Brauer, 1868)

Number: 000
Family: Libellulidae
Genus: Tetrathemis
Species: Tetrathemis irregularis hyalina (possibly)
Common name(s): Elf
Thai name(s): 
Habitat: Ponds and lakes on the edge of forests (lowlands)
Province(s) sighted: Below Khao Yai NP (Nakhorn Ratchasima).
Sightings (by me): Uncommon
In flight (that I have seen): July (obviously longer)

The new species just keep on coming! I'm hoping to exceed 150 species before the season is out. The latest addition to my blog, is Tetrathemis irregularis hyalina. I have never seen one before, though I found it difficult to differentiate between this species and T. platyptera. Noppadon Makbun has ID'd the species for me and told me that small spots on the abdomen S2-4 are characteristic of the species.

Interestingly, I also found that T. irregularis and T. platyptera live side by side at this location.

I now doubt this is the correct ID. 

The female
I only saw the female of this species and they were abundant. No idea why I only saw females... it's usually the other way round with most species.

I will be returning to Khao Yao NP in a few weeks and will track down the male, hopefully. Many thanks to Noppadon Makbun for the ID.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

137. Burmagomphus divaricatus (Lieftinck, 1964)

Number: 137
Family: Gomphidae
Genus: Burmagomphus
Species: Burmagomphus divaricatus
Common name(s): Sprayed Clubtail
Thai name(s): แมลงปอเสือพม่าท้องขีดเหลือง
Habitat: Exposed but weedy uplands streams
Province(s) sighted: Nam Nao environs (Petchabun), Pui Waterfall (Pitsanoluk environs);  Khao Yai NP (Nakhorn Ratchasima).
Sightings (by me): Uncommon
In flight (that I have seen): April-July (possibly longer)

Yet another species I saw at an open river in Khao Yai NP, was  a Burmagomphus species . I initially ID'd this species as B. williamsoni. However, Oleg Kosterin has now ID'd the species Burmagomphus divaricatus.

The male
The male is similar to many other Gomphidae. The thoracic markings are slightly different. However, its sprayed caudal appendages are what give it away.

You can see why it is called the 'sprayed' clubtail. The inferior (lower) appendages are sprayed out.

The sub-adult male
The sub-adult male is very similar to the adult. However, it doesn't yet have the bright eyes. 

The teneral male
I was fortunate enough to also spot a teneral male while I was at Khao Yai. I only managed a couple of photos before he retreated high up in the treetops.

Close up of the appendages.

Here's a teneral male I caught briefly ... shows just how small they are.

The female
I have spotted a few females, but they are always almost impossible to get near. They tend to fly away at the slightest movement. Fortunately, as I wandered along the riverbank at almost 6 p.m., this one had settled down for the night. I even managed to capture her with my fingers. 

 The female's caudal appendages.

Now in the hand (for thoracic markings) ...

The copula...
On a terrible day, with howling winds and heavy rain, I still managed to capture photos of something special. This copula is the only one I have ever seen of this genus. I saw it at an uplands river, which is exposed in Nam Nao environs. I have since spotted a second copula (terrible photos though) at Pui waterfall, Pitsanoluk environs.

Many, many thanks to Oleg Kosterin for the ID and generous information provided on the genus. Also, to Noppadon Makbun for confirming the second female I saw at Nam Nao.