Saturday, March 8, 2014

162. Sinictinogomphus clavatus phaleratus (Selys, 1854)

Number: 162
Family: Gomphidae
Genus: Sinictinogomphus
Species: Sinictinogomphus clavatus phaleratus
Common name(s): Golden Flangetail
Synonyms: Ictinogomphus clavatus phaleratus (Selys, 1854)
Habitat: Lowland, disturbed pond
Province(s) sighted: Nam Pong National Park; Phu Kao - Phu Phan Kham National Park (Khon Kaen); 
Sightings (by me): Uncommon
In flight (that I have seen): March-June
Species easily confused with: Ictinogomphus decoratus melaenops

A new season and a new species to brag about already and I now make it 71 species for Khon Kaen province! Sinictinogomphus clavatus phaleratus is an enormous Gomphidae that can easily be confused with I. decoratus. Unfortunately, the latter is easy to approach and this species isn't. I managed to only get a few record shots of both male and female this species and will return to Nam Pong very soon, as it may not be around for that long. This species was once recorded in Khon Kaen province, during August. Therefore, I may have ample time to find it again.

The male
The male is easily recognised with its enormous 'club-shaped' appendages, as well as it's thoracic markings. However, should you spot one, approach with caution. It will fly away at the slightest movement. I actually think the sound of my camera going off was enough to spook it.

The female
The female is similar to the male, yet seems to have more prominent thoracic markings. It, too, is easily spooked and tends to perch on ridiculously high twigs up in the tree canopy. Still, I am happy to have seen both male and female, though I must improve my shots.

(Since I posted this, I managed to capture photos of an ovipositing female)

She would literally 'slap' her appendages into the water in order to release the eggs.

All the while, the male was close by ...

A trip to Nam Pong NP, Khon Kaen

Location: Lower reaches of Nam Pong NP, Khon Kaen environs
Date: Saturday, 08 March, 2014
Areas visited: Medium-sized pond, forested pond
So, my first 'proper' trip of the season ... armed with top gps on my phone (thanks, Paul), and a repaired ring flash at a staggering cost of 12,000 baht!!! (thanks, Canon!), I was ready to go. I decided to go to a new place: a pond with a stream, which showed up on Google Maps. It was only 51 kms away and, what seemed, in good forested area of Nam Pong, albeit the lower reaches. I arrived early, as usual, and was shocked at the fact that there was no stream at all (though there was clearly a cut presumably created during the rainy season). I was then shocked again by the numbers of workers there chopping down and burning everything in sight (right up to the edge of one area of the pond. Fortunately, the pond was there ... seemingly entertaining a family of snail pickers. They were wading slowly all around the pond. Unperturbed, I continued around the people-free area of the pond. There were plenty of odonates flitting around, but all common. Finally, I noticed something a little different in the shape of a female, Macrodiplax cora. It was only the second location I had found the species. However, only a solitary female was present. I moved on and eventually I noticed an enormous male Gomphidae in the distance. I managed to get a few record shots before it shot off rapidly ... I searched for hours to find another, circling the pond several times, as well as searching deeping into the trees and scrub. I managed to spot two females of the same species high up in the tree canopy. Again, I only managed record shots. When I returned home, I discovered it was Sinictinogomphus clavatus phaleratus, a species that had been recorded in Khon Kaen previously. Still, it is a new record for me and I WILL return in a few weeks hopefully to get decent shots this time.
My best photos of the day: