Monday, May 28, 2018

208. Philoganga loringae Fraser, 1927

Number: 208
Family: Philogangidae
Genus: Philoganga
Species: Philoganga loringae 
Common name(s): N/A
Synonym(s): N/A 
Habitat: Small forested stream
Province(s) sighted: Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary, (Chaiyaphum)
Sightings (by me): 1 male
In flight (that I have seen): May   
Species easily confused with: Philoganga montana

After years of searching during March and April at PK, I had mentally given up on seeing Philoganga loringae. I know it is on the wing during this time and it had also been recorded at Phu Khieo in March, though I am not sure how many years back we are talking. I never managed to see it and thought that it may not actually be there anymore. However, during a recent trip right at the end of May, I was standing on a bridge looking down at a small, narrow stream with Adrian Plant and my brother, Paul, and pondering whether or not to investigate it. Suddenly, I spotted a large damselfly in the distance at eye level perched on a twig that was high up above the stream. Armed only with my 180mm macro lens getting a photo would have been an impossibility -- well, I actually tried and I am too embarrassed to show the shots. However, with my brother around, he is always set up for birds with his 100-400mm lens. With this setup, it was possible to get in a few shots, though they are only record shots for now. That said, I was clicking my heels all the way home with this sighting. Once I had a record shot in the bag, I searched the stream below but didn't manage to spot a single specimen, which was made worse by the fact that the male was still perched high above my head (maybe I need to learn female damselfly mating sounds if there were ever such a thing haha).

I had actually seen and photographed Philoganga montana a few hundred kilometres north of Kanchanaburi a few years back in March and, though still rare, P. loringae seems to be a little more common but had evaded my lens until now. So, roll on next year when I can spend more time searching for this stunning damselfly... but will go in March/April again now I know where it is and there may be a few others to be seen.

The male
Only record shots, but good enough for an ID. One of the largest damsels in Thailand.