Monday, December 27, 2010

15. Mnais andersoni (McLachlan in Selys, 1873)

Number: 15
Family: Calopterygidae
Genus: Mnais
Species: Mnais andersoni
Common name(s): Anderson's Greenwing
Thai name: แมลงปอเข็มน้ำตกใหญ่ท้องขาว
Habitat: Upland, slow-moving clear streams
Province(s) sighted: Widespread (Chiang Mai)
Sightings (by me): Common in and around Chiang Mai
In flight (that I have seen): March-April
Species easily confused with: Caliphaea angka; Caliphaea thailandica

One of the most beautiful damselflies I have seen is Mnais andersoni. I was lucky enough to see this species in all forms in Chiang Mai. They are quite large in size and like the Vestilas family, they are quite clumsy when landing. Both males and females were extremely common. They like to hang around trees and branches that overhang slow moving streams and live together in large numbers.

The male
There are two types of male and this one is an orange winged specimen. The fully mature male is highly distinctive with orange wings and a beautiful white thorax. It also has yellow/green markings along the prothorax (?). The end segments on the abdomen are also white.

The male close up
This shows just how beautiful the markings are on the male.

Young male
This is a young male that hasn't yet developed the white markings on the thorax.

The (other) male
The second male is the clear winged male (known as hyaline winged male). This one is similar to the orange-winged specimen but the wings and thorax colours are notably different.

Teneral male
The young male is a metallic green and has amazing white/cream eyes.

Can't take my eyes of you...
A good photo of the eyes (same specimen as above).

The female
The female is very similar to the male, but the abdomen is robust and the end segments are grey.

The mature female
This is a mature female, similar to above but has browned in colour.

A copula
This is a breeding hyaline pair.

A copula... again
This is a breeding orange winged pair.

I saw Mnais andersoni at a number of areas in Chiang Mai, up in the mountainous areas, along tree-lined streams. They were extremely common and I saw them from March-May while I was there. If you are in Chiang Mai you must go and see this species... it looks amazing close up. Many, many thanks, once again, to Noppadon Makbun for leading me to this species.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

14. Ceriagrion indochinense (Asahina, 1967)

Number: 14
Family: Coenagrionidae
Genus: Ceriagrion
Species: Ceriagrion indochinense
Common name(s): N/A
Thai name(s): แมลงปอเข็มสีพื้นอินโดจีน
Habitat: Exposed areas, near ponds (uplands & lowlands)
Province(s) sighted: Widespread (Khon Kaen); Khao Yai NP (Nakhorn Ratchasima); Nam Nao environs (Petchabun); Phu Rua environs (Loei); farmer's pond (Prachaub Khiri Khan)
Sightings (by me): Common in Khon Kaen and Nam Nao
In flight (that I have seen): February-January
Species easily confused with: Ceriagrion calamineumCeriagrion fallax

There are 12 Ceriagrion species known in Thailand and Ceriagrion indochinense is one of 7 I have been lucky enough to see so far. Khon Kaen is a good place to spot this genus as it is very hot and dry. C. indochinense is fairly common and likes to live near a variety of waterways, such as open lakes to tiny muddy ditches. I have also seen a very large colony that lives in the shrubbery right next to the River Chi in Khon Kaen, a large but slow moving river.

The male
The male is far more common than the female and is easily recognisable by its green thorax and eyes and its bright yellow abdomen. The end segments of the abdomen are often slightly brown in colour.

Close up

It's dog eat dog...
... or damselfly eat damselfly in this case. This male is busily eating a female C. Auranticum... something I have seen this species do a lot. 

The female
The female is dull compared to that of the male. It can be confused with female Cauranticum but is bigger in size, lighter in colour and they live close to the males. 

There were numerous females at Nam Nao National Park recently which varied slightly in colour. This one I think is fully mature...

And the wheel position...

Close-up of how the male utilises his claspers ...

I have seen C. indochinense on a regular basis around the northeast of Thailand and they tend to live in large numbers when spotted. I have seen this species from February-November but I'm not sure exactly when it is in flight, probably year round.

13. Calicnemia imitans (Lieftinick, 1948)

Number: 13
Family: Platycnemididae
Genus: Calicnemia
Species: Calicnemia imitans
Common name(s): N/A
Thai name(s): แมลงปอเข็มหญ้าแถบเขียว
Habitat: Heavily forested uplands streams
Province(s) sighted: Chiang Mai & Kanchanaburi (possibly)
Sightings (by me): Fairly common in Chiang Mai
In flight (that I have seen): March-April
Species easily confused with: None

There are four species of Calicnemia and I have been lucky enough to spot three species so far. Calicnemia imitans was the first I saw and is probably the most common. C. imitans likes dark and forested areas along slow moving shallow streams. 

The male
The adult male has blue and black stripes on the thorax and the abdomen is very slim and blue also. 

Two's company...
A pair of males

The young male
The young adult male looks very similar to the mature male, but has yellow stripes instead of blue. 

The female
The female looks very much like the young adult male. 

Teneral female???
I saw this newly emerged specimen at first light in Kanchanaburi and sent the photos to Noppadon. He believes it to be Calicnemia sp. and it looks mostly like C. imitans to me. If you know otherwise, please let me know. 
If you click on the photo you can clearly see red and yellow veins running along the abdomen.

Here, she was happy to sit on my thumb. Stunning little thing.

C. imitans is a species I have only seen at a few places in Chiang Mai from March-April. The male seemed to be more common than the female, but they are fairly abundant when you spot them. Thanks to Noppadon Makbun for directing me to them.

12. Cercion malayanum (Selys, 1876)

Number: 12
Family: Coenagrionidae
Genus: Cercion
Species: Cercion malayanum (syn. Paracercion malayanum)
Common name(s): Malay Lilysquatter
Thai name(s): แมลงปอเข็มบางมลายู
Habitat: Exposed lowland and upland areas, near ponds/lakes
Province(s) sighted: Widespread (Khon Kaen); Khao Soi Dao (Chantaburi)
Sightings (by me): Uncommon (especially females)
In flight (that I have seen): March-December

Another small blue damselfly that I have seen on few occasions is Cercion malayanum (also called Paracercion malayanum). At first I was very confused with this species and Psuedagrion microcephalum. There are a number of differences, but the easiest way to distinguish the two is the '8' mark on segment 2 (see picture 2). C. malayanum is also smaller.

The male
The male is easy to spot with its bright azure blue and black colouration to the thorax and abdomen. The eyes are particularly stunning. 

The young male
The young male has the same markings as the adult, but the colour hasn't yet fully developed. 

The female
I saw the female for the first time two weeks ago (Dec 11 2010) and I was really happy to see it. The female is much duller in comparison with olive green colouration to the thorax with a feint orange stripe. I recently saw a second female in Khon Kaen (March 13 2012).

Female close up
Early morning exercise ...

The mature female
Until recently I thought that the female was only green. Now I have just spotted my first female that has blue flanks along the thorax and abdomen. She also has lots of parasites on the underside of her abdomen. Looks like she's just scooped up a load of caviar ...

I have seen this species between March-December in Khon Kaen, as well as once at Chantaburi.

Monday, December 20, 2010

11. Coeliccia didyma (Selys, 1863)

Number: 11
Family: Platycnemididae
Genus: Coeliccia
Species: Coeliccia didyma
Common name(s): Twin-spotted Sylvan
Habitat: Shaded, forested streams (uplands & lowlands)
Province(s) sighted: Kaeng Krachan NP; Nam Nao NP (Petchabun); widespread (Chiang Mai); Phu Rua NP (Loei); Khao Yai NP (Nakhorn Ratchasima); Kanchanaburi.
Sightings (for me): Common 
In flight (that I know of): April-October
Species easily confused with: Coeliccia sp.

Coeliccia is one of my favourite genus of damselflies and Coeliccia didyma is the one I have spotted the most. There are twelve known Coeliccia species in Thailand and I have now spotted six, so I am half way there! C. didyma likes very shady forested areas along slow moving rivers and streams.

The male
The male is far more common than the female and is easily recognisable with its blue markings / stripes on the thorax and the end segments and caudal appendages are also blue. 


Male with a difference...
This male has tiny additional markings on the thorax. According to Noppadon, there can be minor differences in population, even in the same population. So don't start jumping for joy thinking you've just discovered a new sub-species (like I did).

The young male
The male differs in appearance as it ages. Below is a sub-adult male. You can see the markings on the thorax are slightly different than those of the adult and the colour is also different.

An even younger male...
This very young male is similar to the one above, but hasn't yet developed any of the blue colouration differs in appearance as it ages. Below is a sub-adult male. It also has the same markings as the one above.

The female
I haven't seen too many female C. didyma, but I was lucky to spot two females at Nam Nao National Park. The specimen below is an adult female. It is very similar to many other female Coeliccia species but the markings on the end segments are distinct. Younger females are yellow instead of blue.

The young female

A copula

I have spotted C. didyma at a number of places throughout the year. The best place I have seen them was Nam Nao National Park, mainly because there are 4 species of Coeliccia that reside there, including C. didyma, C. chromothorax, C. poungyi and a species very similar to that of C. loogali.