Monday, August 6, 2012

151. Protosticta medusa (Fraser, 1934)

Number: 151
Family: Platystictidae
Genus:  Protosticta
Species:  Protosticta medusa
Common name(s): N/A
Thai name(s): แมลงปอเข็มรำไรเมดูซา
Habitat: Extremely darkened areas in forested streams
Province(s) sighted: Sai Yok Yai Waterfall (Kanchanaburi)
Sightings (by me): Rare
In flight (that I have seen): August

Following a difficult day at Erawan (seriously dark with heavy rain, mud and tourists), I decided to venture to a place I had been to once before. Again, it was extremely quiet on the odonata front and the heavens opened within about 5 minutes of my arrival. Fortunately, there was a break in the weather and I was able to search gingerly. The place was totally void of odonata ... well, not quite. Under a tree and heavily shaded, almost black, was a solitary damselfly. And I knew it was a new species straight away, due to its rather distinct caudal appendages. 

Searching the Internet when I returned home, I think it is Protosticta medusa. I only saw this solitary male, but did get a fleeting glimpse of the female. She came into view (near the same tree) and the male [I was photographing] swooped down onto her and then carried her high up into the trees. And that was it. I didn't see another male or female for that matter, even though I continued for long periods. Still, I got pretty good shots of the male. 

The male
It looks similar to many other species in the genus. However, its caudal appendages and highly distinctive and large. It also seems to have some kind of feather thing (???) above the caudal appendages, though I'm not sure what this is, or what it is used for.

Caudal appendages ...
Here you can see just how complex the caudal appendages are. Also, you can see the little feather-like protrusion coming out of the top. Any ideas what this is for???

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