Monday, April 7, 2014

163. Protosticta khaosoidaoensis Asahina, 1984

Number: 163
Family:  Platystictidae 
Genus: Protosticta 
Species: Protosticta khaosoidaoensis 
Common name(s):Khao Soi Dao's Forestdamsel 
Synonyms: N/A 
Habitat: Upland forested streams 
 Province(s) sighted: Khao Soi Dao waterfall, Khao Kitchacut NP, (Chantaburi province) 
Sightings (by me): Common at this location 
In flight (that I have seen): April (2014) 
Species easily confused with: Protosticta curiosa Fraser, 1934

I recently visited two well-known locations in the province of Chantaburi, specifically in search of one tiny species. The places I refer to are Khao Soi Dao waterfall near the wildlife sanctuary and Khao Kitchacut NP. Both places are fairly well documented in terms of odonates, as well as birds. I had also visited both places before but this was back in 2011 and also it was December, when it was very quiet on the dragonfly front. The damselfly in question was Protosticta khaosoidaoensis, a tiny and extremely slender-looking species which is superficially identical to the far more commonly seen P. curiosa. The latter species is known from the west of Thailand, whereas P. khaosoidaoensis is only known from the above locations in the east. I was fortunate not only to find both male and female, but they were extremely abundant. I seem also to have spotted two different females. One of which has dark end segments as described and a slight variant which has a distinct dorsal patch on S9. This could simply be a variation or possibly a different species or sub-species. Maybe someone out there knows! Anyway, I have now seen all 4 known species from the genus ... I couldn't be happier!

The male
The male is almost identical to other males in the genus. One of the most obvious differences is that it has only 1 tiny black dot on the prothorax. I tried to photograph the caudal appendages, but anyone who has seen this genus will know that it is almost impossible with a standard macro lens and poor lighting. 

Here you can see the solitary dot on the otherwise whitish prothorax. 

 Here's my best attempt at photographing the appendages (awful, really)

The female
The female is very similar to others in the genus. However, S9-10 are entirely dark. 

Yet several females had clearly defined white dorsal patches.

... and this specimen, the dorsal patch seems to be very faint.

The above females could simply be mature females or possibly of a different species. Hopefully an expert will know for sure. 

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