Friday, November 29, 2013

Odonata of the province of Khon Kaen

I have finally got round to collating the species I have photographed in Khon Kaen province (my hometown) over the past five years. I am rather surprised to have found exactly 70 species .... not bad for a flat, boring cultivated landscape. I hope to add more next year (I saw a Gomphidae at Phu Wiang a few years back and MUST find it). 

Here are my findings between 2008 and 2013, mainly within the city boundaries, The River Chi, Phu Pha Man National Park and Phu Wiang National Park:

Family: Calopterygidae
1. Vestalis gracilis [U]

 Family: Coenagrionidae
2. Aciagrion borneense [C]
3. Aciagrion pallidum [C]
4. Agriocnemis minima [C]
5. Agriocnemis pygmaea [C]
6. Cercion malayanum [U]
7. Ceriagrion auranticum [C]
8. Ceriagrion cerinorubellum [R]
9. Ceriagrion indochinense [C]
10. Ceriagrion praetermissum [C]
11. Ischnura senegalensis [C]
12. Onychargia atrocyana [C]
13. Pseudagrion australasiae [R]
14. Pseudagrion microcephalum [C]
15. Pseudagrion rubriceps [C]

  Family: Chlorocyphidae
16. Libellago lineata [C]

   Family: Lestidae
17. Lestes concinnus [C]
18. Lestes elatus [C]
19. Lestes thoracicus [ER]
20. Orolestes octomaculata [R]

   Family: Platycnemididae
21. Copera chantaburii [C]
22. Copera ciliata [C]
23. Copera marginipes [C]

Family: Protoneuridae
24. Prodasineura autumnalis [C]
25. Prodasineura coerulescens [R]

   Family: Aeshnidae
26. Anax sp. (poss A. guttatus) [U]
27. Gynacantha saltatrix [U]
28. Gynacantha subinterrupta [C]
29. Heliaeschna uninervulata [ER]

   Family: Corduliidae
30. Epophthalmia frontalis [C]

   Family: Gomphidae
31. Ictinogomphus decoratus [C]

   Family: Libellulidae
32. Acisoma panorpoides [C]
33. Aethriamanta aethra [C]
34. Aethriamanta brevipennis [C]
35. Aethriamanta gracilis [ER]
36. Brachydiplax chalybea [C]
37. Brachydiplax farinosa [U]
38. Brachydiplax sobrina [R]
39. Brachythemis contaminata [C]
40. Camacinia gigantea [ER]
41. Cratilla lineata calverti [C]
42. Crocothemis servilia servilia [C]
43. Diplacodes nebulosa [C]
44. Diplacodes trivialis [C]
45. Hydrobasileus croceus [R]
46. Lathrecista asiatica [U]
47. Macrodiplax cora [U]
48. Neurothemis fulvia [C]
49. Neurothemis intermedia atalanta [C]
50. Neurothemis tullia [C]
51. Orthetrum chrysis [C]
52. Orthetrum glaucum [C]
53. Orthetrum pruinosum neglectum [C]
54. Orthetrum sabina [C]
55. Pantala flavescens [C]
56. Potamarcha congener [C]
57. Pseudothemis jorina [U]
58. Rhodothemis rufa [C]
59. Rhyothemis phyllis [C]
60. Rhyothemis plutonia [U]
61. Rhyothemis triangularis [R]
62. Rhyothemis variegata [C]
63. Tetrathemis platyptera [U]
64. Tholymis tillarga [C]
65. Tramea transmarina euryale [ER]
66. Trithemis aurora [C]
67. Trithemis festiva [C]
68. Trithemis pallidinervis [C]
69. Urothemis s. signata [C]
70. Zyxomma petiolatum [U]

Rareness based on my personal findings within the province
C = Common
U = Uncommon
R = Rare
ER = Extremely Rare

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Return Trip to the River Chi, Khon Kaen

Location: Khon Kaen environs
Date: Saturday, 23 November 2013 
Areas visited: River Chi, a wide, chocolate-coloured river, heavily tree-lined and overgrown 
 Continuing the tour of my old haunts in Khon Kaen, I returned to an area along the river Chi that previously yielded several uncommon species for my list. I hadn't been there for a number of years and was rather shocked when I arrived. There are now buildings all around the old entrance and on a large area of marshland - which was great for odonates - is now a kind of farm. Some of the marshy area remains, though it has been cultivated somewhat and I will return next week to investigate. My target, however, was Prodasineura coerulescens - a species I had encountered sporadically at the river, though I hadn't seen it in over four years. I made my way along a man-made clay barrier towards the river and there were common dragonflies everywhere, with the most abundant being Trithemis pallidinervis, Tholymis tillarga, Pantala flavescens, Potamarcha congener, Diplacodes trivialis and Diplacodes nebulosa. It's good to see that so many were still managing to flourish there. I then made my way through a tiny marsh area (whilst being scratched to death by horrible bushes) and saw healthy numbers of Ceriagrion auranticum auranticum and Acisoma panorpoides. Eventually, I managed to cut my way through years of unkempt scrub and I arrived close to where I had been at the river previously ... I could hear a generator! Hmmm ... right at the point where I had cut my teeth on river dwelling species, labourers were in the process of constructing a railway bridge ... brilliant! As I was contemplating what to do, I looked down and saw a Gynacantha sp ... straight away I knew it as female Gynacantha saltatrix ... either this is a highly successful year for them or I have been blind in recent years. I have seen this species at numerous locations this season. This however, gave me the impetus to go on. Battling through the undergrowth I saw countless numbers of Gynacantha sp. Most of which were G. subinterrupta, yet every one of them evaded my lens, slipping away into the gloom. I continued along a difficult [sort of] pathway and then I was shocked again ... the labourers had cleared a path themselves. Yet as it had turned out, it was to my advantage. I could now reach much further along the river than previous visits. The undergrowth, where once too dense and difficult to attempt to get through, was now sparse. I continued making my way along some dangerously steep banking ... just to see what was there. It was extremely quiet on the odonata front. The silence only broken by the odd Gynacantha sp. woken from its slumber. Still, I was determined. It was getting late and I was worried that time was against me, when I stumbled - quite literally - into a large mass of ground-weed infested mud banking about 15 metres from the river. By tripping, I disturbed a damselfly, which then hovered for what seemed an eternity. Only one species I had seen before hovered for so long .... Prodasineura coerulescens. And there it was - my target. Then I saw another and another. Females were present too (though look incredibly similar to P. autumnulis - with slightly longer abdomens, it seems). All in all, there were 6-7 males and the same numbers of females in one small area. So, I suppose persistence does pay after all. Cuts, bruises, bitten to death by mosquitoes and extremely tired ... I finally found my target!
My best photos of the day:

This species is abundant in Khon Kaen this year.


Away from the river, amongst drying grasses, these were everywhere ... I have never seen so many!

NEXT TRIP: A potentially futile attempt to find Lestes thoracicus, a species I saw in the back garden of my old rented house 3-4 years ago ... and initially miss-identified it, hence the lack of quality photos! I also saw one male near a tiny farmer's pond, which doesn't exist anymore. Can I find it again? Only one way to find out ...

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A short trip to Khon Kaen ... part 2

Location: Khon Kaen environs
Date: Saturday, 16 November 2013
Areas visited: Heavily tree-lined pond / short canal section about 15 kms outside KK city.
Yesterday, I returned to the same location as the previous week, in order to improve photos of male/female Gynacantha saltatrix. I managed to locate specimens again and also enjoyed sighting a few more species for the season. The weather was lovely and overcast too. Though it was quiet, I managed to spot male and female Lestes concinnus for the first time in four years. I also saw Aciagrion borneense and Diplacodes nebulosa for the first time this season in Khon Kaen. Scratched, bitten, muddy and tired, it was a difficult day in terms of locating species, but I can't help but love that cloudy weather for photography.

My best photos of the day:

My first sighting of this species in four years. 

After lots of hard effort many cuts and scratches from horrible bushes, I managed to get full shots of male and female (this species rests really low down in the low leaves and grasses - probably why they are green). It's a shame that they are ALWAYS hiding amongst lots and lots of grass!

New sightings at this location for the year.

 The same female on the same stick from last week ... but a much improved photo of her!

Copula spotted sometimes, but really difficult to photograph ... they love dark, dingy places often dry, but muddy.
And a few of the regulars at this time of year ... they deserve a look in too!