Sunday, December 19, 2010

9. Ischnura aurora (Brauer, 1865)

Number: 9
Family: Coenagrionidae
Genus: Ischnura 
Species: Ischnura aurora
Common name(s): Golden Dartlet, Dawn Bluetail, Aurora Bluetail
Thai name(s): แมลงปอเข็มนาส้มวงฟ้า, แมลงปอเข็มบ่อผู้เขียวท้องส้ม
Habitat: Exposed uplands ponds, paddy fields
Province(s) sighted: Nam Nao NP (Petchabun); Chiang Rai; Khao Khrating National Park (Chantaburi); Khao Yai NP (Nakhorn Ratchasima).
In flight (that I know of): February-November
Sightings (by me): Uncommon
Species easily confused with: None

For me, this is the king of the 'minis'. Ischnura aurora is only tiny, but his colours scream for attention. The males like to sit in long grasses and are supposed to be common in paddy fields... though I have never seen one in Khon Kaen and its full of paddy fields there! 

The male
Green and black stripes on the thorax with a bright yellow abdomen, capped by stunning black and bright blue end segments, make it truly one of the best looking damselflies I've seen.

The female
She's really dull in comparison. She has slight blue hues on the thorax and slight yellowing to the abdomen. The markings on the abdomen are also completely different to that of the male. The females are far more difficult to spot and the one I saw hung far back from the main body of water in the bushes.

Here is a slightly younger female ...

This species is supposed to be fairly common, but I have only spotted it a few times. I first saw two males in a paddy field on the outskirts of Chiang Rai in April. I then spotted another male at the pond at the Helicopter Pad at Nam Nao National Park in November. Here I also saw a female for the first time (I recently spotted a 2nd female there). I also spotted a male at a pond near Khao Khrating National Park in November this year. I have now spotted male and female at Nam Nao in February.

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