Saturday, May 25, 2013

160. Heliaeschna uninervulata (Martin, 1909)

Number: 160
Family: Aeschnidae
Genus: Heliaeschna
Species: Heliaeschna uninervulata
Common name(s): N/A
Synonyms: N/A
Habitat: Heavily tree-lined lowland ponds
Province(s) sighted: Khon Kaen environs
Sightings (by me): Rare
In flight (that I have seen): RMay-June (2013)
Species easily confused with: N/A

A quick trip to a few old haunts around Khon Kaen today yielded another new species ... and a cracking one at that. Along a fairly long canal-like pond, that was heavily tree-covered I noticed a dragonfly tucked deep into a dark alcove created by trees. I crept forward and thought at first that it was gynacantha subinterrupta, a commonly sighted species in Khon Kaen. However, as I approached gingerly, I noticed its caudal appendages were significantly different. I managed to get a few shots in before I stood on a twig and the noise was enough for it to fly deeper into the dark tree alcove ... amazingly, though, another male flew towards it and a brief battle ensued. The same male rested once more (the other fled) and I was able to get a few more photos in, though any slight movement ensured that the dragonfly moved too. I saw a few more specimens in the same area, but they were already in flight when I saw them (I scared them into flying). When I returned home, a little research on the Internet revealed that it was a male Heliaeschna uninervulata. According to Noppadon Makbun, it's an uncommon species - and I'm pretty sure that it is a provincial record.

The male.
Similar to gynacantha subinterrupta, yet has siginficantly different caudal appendages. I think it really is a stunning species and one I hope to bump into again.

Here's how I first saw him (it was very dark, obviously flash was used)


Close-up ...


Here, he had settled again



And here's another one I saw a little later on in the day



The unique caudal appendages (though from the wrong side) - look at how beautiful the shape is ... almost like leaves.