Monday, August 6, 2012

152. Protosticta curiosa (Fraser, 1934)


Number: 152
Family: Platystictidae
Genus:  Protosticta
Species:  Protosticta curiosa
Common name(s): N/A
Thai name(s): แมลงปอเข็มรำไรปล้องฟ้า, แมลงปอเข็มรำไรปล้องขาว
Habitat: Extremely darkened areas in upland forested streams
Province(s) sighted: Erawan Waterfall [level 5] (Kanchanaburi); Tak environs
Sightings (by me): Scarce
In flight (that I have seen): August-October
An amazingly difficult and arduous trip to Kanachanburi only yielded a few new species. In fact, there were very few species of any description full stop. Primarily, as it was raining heavily throughout the trip and many areas were completely inaccessible (some areas were totally blocked). After 4 hours of searching at Erawan waterfall, amongst the millions of Speedo-wearing tourists, I was about to give up. Then, my girlfriend, Beau, noticed a small damselfly deep in the bushes directly below level 5. It turned out to be a female Protosticta grandis - a species I had spotted briefly before, but only a teneral male. Searching deeper in the bushes, I noticed another male and then several more. Amongst them, I saw a single male of another species. It had an extremely long and slim abdomen. I could hardly see it and it took me an age to get any decent photos in almost pitch dark. Not only was it dark, they were resting on twigs just above rotting leaves. They were almost impossible to see. I saw 2 males and 3-4 females within a very small area. 
I returned home and did a little research on the Internet. I'm confident its Protosticta curiosa.
The male
It is instantly recognisable for its extremely long and slim abdomen - how can they fly with wings s short? It eyes are more of a jade colour too, whereas other similar species they are more of a blue colour. Since then, I have also spotted a male in Tak province and managed to get improved photos.



 


The female
There were more females than males present, but were still extremely difficult to photograph. Similar to the male, but has a much stouter and shorter abdomen.



In the hand
Here's a female I managed to catch with my fingers. Unfortunately, it was that dark, I couldn't hardly see when focussing, even with the pilot light on my ring flash. Though not a great photo (blurred to buggery), it shows more accurate colours (especially in the eyes).


If you want to see this species, you will have to search really carefully - even then it may elude you.

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