Sunday, July 3, 2016

188. Orolestes selysi McLachlan, 1895

Number: 188    
Family: Lestidae    
Genus: Orolestes    
Species: Orolestes selysi McLachlan, 1895 
Common name(s): N/A   
Synonyms: N/A    
Habitat: Forested pond (temporary)   
Province(s) sighted: Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary (Chaiyaphum)  
Sightings (by me): Rare 
In flight (that I have seen): July    
Species easily confused with: Oroletes octomaculata

There are times when you have to question all those hours of your life spent being torn to shreds by nasty bushes, wading through treacle-like mud, waste deep in putrid water, bitten to death by leeches, mosquitoes and horseflies, as well as those long, arduous and expensive journeys. There are other times when it makes the bad times simply melt away. And last Saturday was one of them. I finally managed to see the fabled Orolestes selysi - a stunning damselfly that was the stuff of legends as many of the rarer species at Phu Khieo (and the rest of NE Thailand) seem to be. Though it is found in several countries, it seems to be a very rare species in Thailand. When, after all this time, I managed to spot one dangling from a tree overhanging a gloomy and temporary pond I was over the moon. Amazingly, like buses, I then noticed another and another. In fact, I saw three at this pond and two single specimens at other ponds. It must simply be a good year for them. Another thing of note was the fact that Orolestes octomaculata was also very much present (I am confident this species is around all year now) and they co-habit ... I was amazed to spot a male of each species on a branch, but was just too late to get a shot. The question is now whether there are hyaline specimens here too. According to Noppadon Makbun (the man who had said it was reported from Phu Khieo and encouraged me to find it), it is only known from this location in Thailand... hopefully it will be found again soon at a different location. Until then, I can now sleep happily, safe in the knowledge that I have photos of another rare species in Thailand. Roll on next weekend for more torture to my body for moments of true joy!





Here is the incredibly rare hyaline male. I managed to spot two males at a small pond and one shot each and they made a dash for the top of the tree canopy. Until next year, my friend, when I will get improvement shots!