Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nam Nao: A Year in the Making (March)

Location 1: Helicopter Pad Lake, Nam Nao National Park, Petchabun. 
Date: Tuesday, 20th March, 2012.
Weather: Cool and damp at first, then Scorching hot
Expectations of recording additional species (for my list): Low
Leech bites: 10 (and hundreds of horsefly? bites and another bee sting)

It’s been almost a month since my last visit and I eagerly anticipated my arrival as I drove towards Chumpae (like a kid on Christmas eve). It started cool, but became seriously hot by mid-morning. At first it was extremely quiet, with only the most common residents punctuating the silence and early morning dew. I walked down to a heavily covered area of the lake (about 50 metres away from the actual lake, where seepage from the lake in the rainy season flows through) and I was surprised to spot Coeliccia chromothorax for the first time at the lake. This species is common at the stream that runs through the headquarters, but I have never seen it at the lake area. At the opposite end, I also saw Cratilla lineata for the first time and, more surprisingly, I saw 3-4 male Orolestes octomaculata deep under heavy tree cover at the back end of the lake. So that’s three new species for the lake! The highlight for me, however, was seeing my old friend, Indolestes inflatus, basking in the midday sun, dispelling my idea that they hide in the heat of the day. The other notable thing was that Ischnura aurora  was extremely common this time. I usually see one or two specimens each visit. But for the month of March males and females were everywhere. I didn't see a single copula though!
Once the sun was high in the sky, hordes of Libellulidae appeared to do battle and copulate. I didn't spot any new species and with the sun blazing and with everything seemingly wanting to bite me, it was time to move on … to the stream at the headquarters. 

Indolestes inflatus, a beautiful and extremely rare species - and now I know they are in flight in March!

Ceriagrion indochinense 'in action'. It's really difficult to get close to Ceriagrion copula as they fly away at the slightest movement.

Coeliccia chromothorax, a new addition to the lake

Here is a dead male ... actually he's playing dead and flew away unharmed. I have seen this a lot with this genus. Maybe it's some kind of defence mechanism.

Brachydiplax farinosa, teneral female hiding in the shade

Argiocnemis rubescens rubeola, rather common at this time of year.

Nam Nao Helicopter Pad (added species from the last visit, bold; new species for the lake, blue; species not seen from last visit, red)

Fam. Coenagrionidae
Aciagrion tillyardi (Laidlaw, 1919) ♂ ♀ [fairly common]
Aciagrion pallidum Selys, 1891 ♂ [2]
Agriocnemis femina (Brauer, 1868) ♂ ♀ [extremely common]
Agriocnemis nana (Laidlaw, 1914)  [fairly common]
Agriocnemis pygmaea (Rambur, 1842) ♂ ♀ [common]
Argiocnemis rubescens rubeola Selys, 1877) ♂ [common]
Ceriagrion indochinense Asahina, 1967  [uncommon]
Ischnura aurora (Brauer, 1865)  [very common]
Ischnura senegalensis (Rambur, 1842) ♂ ♀ [common]
Onychargia atrocyana Selys, 1865 ♂ ♀ [common]
Pseudagrion rubriceps rubriceps (Selys, 1876) ♂ ♀ [common]

Fam. Lestidae
Indolestes inflatus (Fraser 1933) ♂ [1]
Orolestes octomaculata (Martin, 1902)  ♂ [3-4]

Fam. Platycnemididae
Coeliccia chromothorax (Selys, 1891)  [1, 5-6]
Copera ciliata (Selys, 1863) ♂ ♀ [extremely common]
Copera marginipes (Rambur, 1842) ♂ [very common]

Fam. Protoneuridae
Prodasineura autumnalis (Fraser, 1922) ♂ ♀ [fairly common]

Fam. Gomphidae
Ictinogomphus decoratus (Selys, 1854) ♂ [common]

Fam. Libellulidae
Acisoma panorpoides panorpoides (Rambur, 1842) ♂ ♀ [uncommon]
Brachydiplax farinosa (Krüger 1902) ♂ ♀ [common]
Brachythemis contaminata (Fabricius, 1793) ♂ ♀ [common]
Cratilla lineata (Brauer, 1878) ♂ [2]
Crocothemis servilia (Drury, 1773)
Diplacodes trivialis (Rambur, 1842) ♂ ♀ [common]
Indothemis limbata (Selys, 1891) ♂ ♀ [extremely common]
Lathrecista asiatica (Fabricius, 1798) ♂ [2]
Neurothemis fulvia (Drury, 1773) ♂  [uncommon]
Neurothemis intermedia (Rambur, 1842)
Orthetrum chrysis (Selys, 1891) ♂ [fairly common]
Orthetrum pruinosum (Burmeister, 1839 ♂ [1]
Orthetrum sabina sabina (Drury, 1770) ♂ [common]
Palpopleura s. sexmaculata (Fabricius, 1787) ♀ [1]
Pseudothemis jorina Förster, 1904 ♂ [common]
Rhodothemis rufa (Rambur, 1842)  ♂ [2]
Tholymis tillarga (Fabricius, 1798) ♂ [fairly common]
Trithemis aurora (Burmeister, 1839) ♂ ♀ [extremely common]
Zyxomma petiolatum Rambur, 1842

37 species spotted February-March ... let's hope there's many more!

Location 2: River at the headquarters, Nam Nao National Park, Petchabun. 
Date: Tuesday, 20th March, 2012.
Weather: dull, cool and overcast with the occasional burst of sunshine - vision was very poor
Expectations of recording additional species (for my list): Low
Leech bites: 1

Since the last visit, the stream has become much more active. However, this tended to be only when the sun burst through the tree canopy ... then all hell broke loose. Lots of odonata would fly around rapidly, battling amongst one another. Each time the sun disappeared, so did the damselflies! It was great to watch. Though the place was far more active than the last time (that wasn't difficult), they were mostly only common species. Coeliccia didyma were everywhere. Oddly, though, Coeliccia chromothorax was absent, even though it was present 3 kilometres away at a LAKE!

However, I was pleasantly surprised to find Prodasineura doisuthepensis present, and rather abundant. I didn't know that its range reached this far. Doing a bit of research on the range of the species yesterday, I looked at the ICUN Red List website.  On the species, P. doisuthepensis, it states: 

"Prodasineura doisuthepensis is very likely to be a junior synonym of P. auricolor (Fraser, 1927), which occurs at the type locality of P. doisuthepensis on the lower slopes of Doi Suthep in Thailand. The only difference between the two species, at least that is apparent from the description and discussion in Hoess (2007), appears to be in the colour of their pale markings: blue in doisuthepensis but yellow in auricolor. Examples are already known in the Asian Protoneuridae of species which typically have orange or yellow pale markings, but in some populations have pale markings blue in individuals that are not fully mature (Orr 2001, Dow 2008, Lieftinck 1937), such individuals can even be reproductively active."

This is quite probably true (I am no expert). However, I find it rather strange that in March they are ALL BLUE specimens AND reproducing. However, in October they are ALL orange. Yesterday I saw numerous males, as well as copula. I didn't see a single orange specimen. Likewise, during the months of July-October (other months I have visited), I have only spotted orange specimens, and not a single blue one. Hopefully, during April-June I can find out more information about this - or these - species. Let's hope.

Here's the male. There were many of these but unbelievably difficult to get anywhere near them:

I also managed to get half-decent shots of the female ovipositing

Is that the beginnings of orange colour I see? ...

Nam Nao Headquarter's stream (added species from the last visit, bold; new species for the lake, blue; species not seen from last visit, red)

Family: Chlorocyphidae

Rhinocypha fenestrella (Rambur, 1842) ♂ ♀ [very common] 
Rhinocypha biforata (Selys, 1859) ♂ ♀ [very common]

Family: Coenagrionidae
Aciagrion pallidum (Selys, 1891)

Family: Lestidae
Lestes elatus (Hagen in Selys, 1862)

Family: Platycnemididae
Coeliccia didyma (Selys, 1863) ♂ ♀ [very common]
Coeliccia poungyi (Fraser, 1924)  [probably was teneral C.didyma afterall]
Copera marginipes (Rambur, 1842) ♂ ♀ [very common]
Copera vittata (Selys, 1863) ♂ ♀ very common]

Family: Protoneuridae
Prodasineura doisuthepensis (Hoess, 2007) ♂ ♀ [common]

Family: Libellulidae
Zygonyx iris malayana (Selys, 1869) [2-3]

Next Trip: April


  1. Hey Dennis do you have an email address? I wonder if you could help me identify a damselfly I saw and photographed in Khao Yai it's on this link
    http://www.botab.blogspot.com/2012/03/banded-kingfisher-at-khao-yai-national.html Gerry

  2. A great update!

    New records for Phetchabun are Orolestes octomaculatus, Cratilla lineata, Orthetrum pruinosum, Heliocypha biforata, Zygonyx iris. Are they visual registrations or you made some photos of these species (no really matter, just to be inforormed on the character of the records).

    And I would strongly recommend you to encourage Rory Dow to prepare and publish your joint comment about the findings of Indolestes inflatus in Thailand! This must be published soon, in spite of Rory having a lot of project and Noppadon is immersed in fieldwork.


  3. Hi Oleg.
    Sorry for the delay in replying. I've just got back from a short trip to Hua Hin. It was a good break. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see a new species - mostly all very common and it was more of a family thing so couldn't spend hours at waterfalls. I am going to visit there again at the end of the month, as well as many other places in the area - possibly Chantaburi again, too. As far as the new records go at Nam Nao, Cratilla lineata, Orthetrum pruinosum and Orolestes octomaculatus are photographic records (though O. octomaculatus is terrible and blurred but identifiable). Heliocypha biforata and Zygonyx iris are visual. I also agree with you on publishing findings on Indolestes inflatus and I will contact Noppadon to get the ball rolling! Take care Dennis