Sunday, May 13, 2018

203. Vestalis amoena Selys, 1853

Number: 203
Family: Calopterygidae
Genus Vestalis
Species: Vestalis amoena
Common name(s):  Metallic Green Demoiselle
Synonym(s): N/A
Habitat: Mostly lowland forested small, sandy-bottomed streams
Province(s) sighted: To Mo Community Forest and streams below Hala-Bala Wildlife Sanctuary (Narathiwat) 
Sightings (by me): Locally common
In flight (that I have seen): April    
Species easily confused with: Vestalis anneVestalis gracilis gracilis; Vestalis amethystina

I love Vestalis species and was overjoyed to spot two species known from the west/south of Thailand. The first one Vestalis amoena is most certainly the most common in Narathiwat. It seemed to prefer the trees at the edges of small, shallow and somewhat sandy-bottomed streams and is restricted to the very south of Thailand, whereas V. amethystina is found as high up as Kanchanaburi and I only saw it once at the large river that runs through Hala-Bala WS. Superficially, they look identical and the only way to separate the two species is by viewing their appendages. This is, of course, easier said than done. I did manage to get decent shots of the appendages. The appendages of V. amoena has a smooth bulbous end, whereas V. amethystina has a distinctive nick, otherwise they are impossible to separate. The males of both species were incredibly difficult to approach whereas the female of V. amoena was a little more cooperative.

The male
The male looks like other males in the genus... and totally awesome. How can anyone not love these big clumsy dragons that seem to plop from leaf to leaf in order to totally avoid being photographed but still manage to watch you!?!

Another male...
And the appendages...

The Female
The females were a little more cooperative

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