Tuesday, July 5, 2011

129. Indolestes inflatus (Fraser, 1933)

Number: 129
Family: Lestidae
Genus: Indolestes
Species: Indolestes inflatus
Common Name(s): N/A
Thai name(s): Unknown
Habitat: Exposed, but weedy areas of upland ponds / lakes
Province(s) sighted: Helicopter Pad Lake, Nam Nao National Park (Petchabun)
Sightings (by me): Rare. 5-6 males and 2 females
In flight (that I have seen): March-July
AT LAST!!! I have discovered a new record for Thailand! I saw this rare specimen at the Helicopter Pad lake, Nam Nao, late in the afternoon. It was extremely skittish and I managed only to get a few shots, before it chased a tiny damselfly deep into the bushes and I didn't see it again. When I returned home, I knew it was of the genus Indolestes and I thought it was I. anomalus. Primarily because I had already seen I. birmanus at Phu Kradueng NP on two previous occasions. And there are only two species of that genus recorded in Thailand... or so I thought. I sent the photos to Dr. Matti Hämäläinen and he forwarded the photos to Dr. Rory Dow, who confirmed it as Indolestes inflatus,  a very rare species, where only one male specimen has ever been recorded in Burma, 1925. In Fraser's field notes, he stated: "Distribution - a single adult male from Maymyo, North Shan States, Burma, collected by Col. F. Wall, 5. vi. 25, now in the author's collection." Also in his field notes, the species was referred to as Ceylonolestes inflata.  A copy of the field notes were kindly emailed to me by Dr. Matti.

Since then, I have returned to the same place and I recorded 3 more males and a female, which has never been seen or recorded before! They seemed more active very early in the morning. I saw the males and the female at about 7.00 am. By the time I had walked around the lake, they had all but vanished, probably hiding from the hot sun.
The male
Slightly smaller than I. birmanus, the male is distinct in that it has a azure blue thorax and eyes. The wings are a distinct brownish colour, as is the stigma. The abdomen is blue with unique blackish markings dorsally. S8-10 are black and the caudal appendages are white and rather distinct.

Another male spotted late in the afternoon ... nicely backlit to highlight his brownish wings and legs.

Introducing the female...
Never before seen! I was amazed not only to see the male again, but I even managed to see, for the first time, the female and a copula. I saw the copula first, and then I think this is the same female, after copulation.

The female is very similar to the male, except it is much paler. It has brownish wings and legs. The thorax is a greenish/brown to a blueish/creamy colour and has a prominent dark thoracic stripe dorsally, as with the male. The markings on the abdomen are the same as the male and has a slight blueish tinge. The caudal appendages are white and unique.

I have since spotted a second female. Again, like the first female, she was active very early in the morning before the sun came up properly.

Once she got used to me, she began slowly prodding her ovipositor into various reeds in a small area, which overhang an area that floods. Here you can see the difference as the sun comes out (above) and how dull it really is when tucked behind clouds.

Here is the female as part of a copula

Female, in the hand (maybe I'm the only person to ever hold a female!)

Female appendages

Dorsal ...

Lateral ...

Here, ovipositing...

And the copula... very early in the morning.

In tandem...

... and now the wheel.

Special thanks to Dr. Matti Hämäläinen and Dr. Rory Dow for their help in identification.


  1. Congratulations, great finding Dennis !
    The next step is a new species for science !
    Good luck. Please continue ur great work.


  2. Hi Sebastien. Thanks for the comment AND for passing on info for great odonata lovers! I hope to find it again this weekend and the female... I can always dream! Take care and keep dragonfly hunting, Dennis

  3. Congrats, Dennis! I'm so excited for this news. the scientific name is I. inflatus.

  4. Thanks a lot, Noppadon... Dr. Matti said the above name, but I believe you are right. I am going to return there this weekend (300 kms round trip on my little bike) Hehehe... I think dragonfly hunting makes all a little crazy! I will update the scientific name. Thanks again.

  5. check this out: http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/169117/0!

  6. Thanks for the info!
    I am amazed that one has turned up at Nam Nao... it's a good distance from Burma. If it was near the border, I would understand. But would this suggest, then, that it has always been present in Thailand, but extremely rare?
    On the link you sent, it was actually Dr.Rory Dow who identified the species for me. Maybe he will update the 'red list'.
    I love that lake at Nam Nao. New species seem to appear every time I go!

  7. Great great pics, sharp !
    Now you will have to publish something about your discovery Dennis ! Have you think about this ?
    It will make a nice article for the AGRION, newsletter of the worldwide dragonfly association.


  8. Hi Sebastien.
    Sorry for the delay, but I missed your message! Thanks for the message and I think it would be good to send photos to AGRION. Would you happen to know the contact email address? I have a number of new species waiting to be added, that I saw at Khao Yai National Park. I'm just waiting for conformation of ID.

    Keep up the good work and START your blog! I want to see your photos.

    Cheers Dennis