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.


  1. I found both I. carnatica and I. limbata in the lake at Helicopter pad. In this season, it seems that I. limbata outnumbers I. carnatica since few males I. carnatica were seen.

  2. Hi Noppadon. I agree that I. imbata is the more dominant species. Maybe I just didn't see I. carnatica at the Helicopter Pad... maybe there were just too many I. limbata!