Tuesday, June 30, 2015

179. Macrogomphus matsukii Asahina, 1986

Number: 179 
Family: Gomphidae 
Genus: Macrogomphus 
Species: Macrogomphus matsukii  
Common name(s):N/A
Synonyms: N/A  
Habitat: Uncertain (though believed to be lowland forest areas) 
Province(s) sighted: My school, Khon Kaen environs (Khon Kaen)
 Sightings (by me): Rare 
In flight (that I have seen): June  
Species easily confused with: TBC

Though it may not seem like it, I have been busy searching for new odonates for a while and it has been rather futile. Khon Kaen in still exceptionally dry, especially as we should be well and truly into the rainy season by now. Every trip (several to Phu Wiang, Nam Phong and once to Nam Nao) has yielded very little. To the point, every trip seems to turn into a butterfly trip instead (I do like photographing them too). Today, though, things changed for the better ... and I was actually sat at my desk at school. A work colleague came in and informed me that a large black and yellow dragonfly had crash-landed into a massive window in the school corridor. I dashed out thinking it would be Ictinogomphus decoratus melaenops. Yet, no, it wasn't. I could see it was a new species straight away though wasn't entirely sure. I caught him with my fingers and later on I took photos of him, before releasing him again. By then, I was confident that it was Macrogomphus matsukii, a new species for Khon Kaen and another species for my record list. So, I am certainly a happy camper right now. Still, I can't help but wonder whether it was just passing through Khon Kaen as there isn't a stream, forest or even a pond for a good distance from school. Only he really knows ... unless I find a new place with several specimens one day. Watch this space. 
Resting just after release. I had to be quick as it was going dark and he flew away about 30 seconds later. 

Being photographed close up ...

... and his appendages close up.

Next trip: haven't decided ... but I hope he is the start of things to come ...

Saturday, January 31, 2015

178. Indolestes anomalus Fraser, 1946

Number: 178
Family: Lestidae
Genus: Indolestes
Species: Indolestes anomalus
Common name(s):N/A
Synonyms: N/A
Habitat: Forested Pond
Province(s) sighted: Nam Nao National Park, Petchabun 
Sightings (by me): Rare
In flight (that I have seen): January
Species easily confused with: Indolestes birmanus, Indolestes inflatus

Yesterday, I went on a short trip along with my brother, Paul, who was birding. We took in the usual Helicopter Pad Lake which was decidedly quiet. Then moved onto a few trails within Nam Nao National Park. Again, it was seriously quiet, though I did spot a few nice butterflies (which I will soon be posting on my new website (which can be seen here). The trail was around 4-5 kms, though it seemed longer. There were a few ponds and drying puddles along the way, one which housed several Lestes elatus and a surprisingly large number of Ceriagrion olivaceum. Surprising as it is the first time I have seen this species within Nam Nao. At the end of the trail was a larger pond in an opening and was surrounded by reeds. Quietly making my way through the reeds, I saw a very small and dark teneral specimen. Though it was hard to see in blazing sunshine, I could see that it was a female and that it was something different and the end segments were enlarged. I closed in and took a few photos. I knew straight away that it was Indolestes. And the only species from that genus I hadn't seen was Indolestes anomalus. I then saw a solitary male which looked very much like Indolestes birmanus ... and doubt started to creep in. It wasn't until I returned home that I could say confidently that it was indeed I. anomalus, and has been confirmed by Noppadon Makbun, who said he saw this species at Nam Nao in June - possibly at the same place. So, though quiet, I was jumping for joy at spotting a rare species and completing the known Indolestes species of Thailand ... unless I can find another! I will return in March or April in search of fully-mature specimens, which I believe are a blueish colour, similar to Indolestes inflatus, which I discovered at the large lake before.

The Male
Looks a lot like Indolestes birmanus.

 The female 
The female boasts bulbous end segments, which gave away the ID.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Trip to Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary

Location:  Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary, Chiyaphum Province
Date: Sunday 17 November, 2014
Areas visited: A number of small, forested ponds and lakes / marshland

Finally, I got round to visiting a place I have wanted to visit for a number of years ... Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary. I have read up a lot on this place, but never visited. Why? Well, everything I have read, mentioned that you have to reserve a place in advance, it's 4 1/2 hours from Khon Kaen and doesn't open the gates until 8.00 am. Anyway, I decided it was time to try and visit. I got my girlfriend, Beau, to phone the rangers and they explained that you only have to book if you are staying for one night or more ... fantastic. One obstacle out of the way. The second was the distance. I don't have time at the moment to stay for days ... only single day trips are available. 4 1/2 hours is a long time when doubled in one day. Unperturbed, both my brother, Paul, and I, decided to head out there anyway. It took a little over 2 hours to reach the checkpoint ... nothing like the 4 1/2 hours it said on Google Maps!!! Also, it opens at 6.00am, not 8. It took a further 30 minutes once inside, but I was stopping every 2 minutes, anyway So, why visit this place? Well, I had read that there were many species there that I hadn't seen before. Most were river dwellers and being November, it's not the best time to visit rivers. I decide to target the ponds, in search of another rare species,  Ceriagrion pallidum, which has been reported there. I didn't get to see it, nor did I spot any new species for my list. However, being very quiet and similar to Nam Nao, but with an abundance of water bodies to go at - even a large, open marshy area - it IS going to be my target place next season. All in all, I spotted 40 species between myself and my brother, though mostly common species. AND I hadn't even ventured down to any streams! Roll on next April/May ... I think there will be many surprises in store. 

My best photos of the trip:

A list of the dragonflies of the ponds around Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary, Chaiyaphum (that I have photographed or recorded visually)

Aciagrion borneense Ris, 1911  [♂ 2, ♀ 1]
Aciagrion pallidum Selys, 1891  [♂ 1]
Agriocnemis minima Selys, 1877  [♂, ♀ common]
Agriocnemis nana Laidlaw, 1914  [♂, ♀ very common]
Agriocnemis pygmaea (Rambur, 1842)  [♂, ♀ common]
Argiocnemis rubescens rubeola Selys, 1877  [♀ 1]
Ceriagrion auranticum auranticum Fraser, 1922  [♂ 3-4]
Ceriagrion cerinorubellum (Brauer, 1865)  [♂ common, ♀ 1]
Ceriagrion indochinense Asahina, 1967  [♂ 1]
Ischnura aurora aurora Brauer, 1865  [♂ 2, ♀ 1]
Ischnura senegalensis (Rambur, 1842)  [♂, ♀ common]
Onychargia atrocyana Selys, 1865  [♂, ♀ common, all teneral]
Pseudagrion australasiae Selys, 1876  [♂ 2-3]
Pseudagrion rubriceps rubriceps Selys, 1876  [♂, ♀ common]

Lestes concinnus Hagen in Selys, 1862  [♂, ♀ common]
Lestes elatus Hagen in Selys, 1862  [♀ 1]
Lestes praemorsus decipiens Hagen in Selys, 1862  [♂ 1]

Copera ciliata (Selys, 1863)  [♂, ♀ very common]
Copera marginipes (Rambur, 1842)  [♂ 2]
Copera vittata (Selys, 1863)   [♂ 1]

 Prodasineura autumnalis (Fraser, 1922)  [♂, ♀ common]

Ictinogomphus decoratus melaenops (Selys, 1854)  [♂ 1]

Acisoma panorpoides Rambur, 1842  [♂, ♀ fairly common]
Brachydiplax farinosa Kr├╝ger, 1902  [♂ 3-4, ♀ 1]
Brachythemis contaminata (Fabricius, 1793)  [♂, ♀ very common]
Crocothemis servilia servilia (Drury, 1773)  [♂, ♀ common]
Diplacodes nebulosa (Fabricius, 1793)  [♂, ♀ very common]
Diplacodes trivialis (Rambur, 1842)  [♂, ♀ very common]
Indothemis limbata limbata (Selys, 1891)  [♂ 3-4]
Neurothemis fulvia (Drury, 1773)  [♂ 2]
Neurothemis intermedia atalanta Ris, 1919  [♂, ♀ very common]
Neurothemis tullia tullia (Drury, 1773)  [♂, ♀ very common]
Orthetrum chrysis (Selys, 1891)  [♂ common, ♀ 1]
Orthetrum glaucum (Brauer, 1865)  [♂ 3-4]
Orthetrum pruinosum neglectum (Burmeister, 1839)   [♂ very common]
Orthetrum sabina sabina (Drury, 1770)  [♂, ♀ very common]
Rhyothemis sp. (R. phyllis or R. variegate)  [♂ 1]
Tholymis tillarga (Fabricius, 1798)  [♀ 1]
Tramea transmarina euryale Selys, 1878  [♂ 2]
Trithemis aurora (Burmeister, 1839)  [♂, ♀ fairly common]

I hope to DOUBLE this list by the end of next year. Here's to hoping (and praying)!

Monday, October 20, 2014

A trip to Bam Luang Waterfall Park

Location: Bam Luang Waterfall Park, Kranuan, Khon Kaen Province
Date: Saturday 10 October, 2014
Areas visited: Small, lowland-forested waterfalls/stream and lowland lakes
Another quick trip almost to the most northerly edge of Khon Kaen province, didn't yield much in terms of species (it was vey quiet), but did add another species to my ever-growing Khon Kaen province species list. I saw Agriocnemis femina femina for the first time in KK province, following 6 years of searching. Not a rare species, by any stretch of the imagination, but one I thought wasn't present in the province. Well, it is - just. The species was abundant in one field just away from the park. That said, I didn't spot it anywhere else. Still, it has now been recorded. Other than that, it was very common species all the way, though I did spot Ceriagrion cerinorubellum yet again ... I seem to spot a solitary male on each of my trips of late.
My best photos of the day:
Welcome to Khon Kaen, Mr. and Mrs. A. femina
Are you the same male, following me around?

Next trip: A return to Joe's Pad ... in search of B. sobrina, female!

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Trip to Udon Thani

Location: A trip to Udon Thani environs
Date: Saturday 04 October, 2014
Areas visited:  A cluster of small, lowland-forested ponds approx 70 kms east of Udon Thani
After a long time out, primarily due to work commitments and lack of funds, it was high time to charge my camera once more and set out dragonfly hunting. Though the Gomphid season has pretty much come and gone, there were surely lots of goodies still waiting to be found. So, where was I to go? Well, I decided to visit a fellow dragonfly hunter whom I had come to know through 'Dragonflies of Thailand' on Facebook. His name is Joe Hartman and he lives approximately 70 kms east of Udon Thani, in Issarn. Using my trusty gps, I arrived in the village where he lives, after driving for around 2 hours ... I then drove down a narrow dirt track. It became narrower and narrower ... and then ... I became stuck ... I had driven over a sandy area and the wheels slowly sank. I couldn't move with the wheels just spinning spraying sand everywhere. So, before I could hunt for dragonflies, I had to hunt for pebbles and it took me about 30 minutes to find enough to get the wheels moving again. Worse still, I was in the wrong place! I called Joe and we decided that it would be best to go back to the hospital and meet up there. Bloody gps! We met and he took me to his house for coffee and a chat, before hitting his local ponds. They were mainly small ponds on the edge of lowland forest amongst farmland, though some where protected in the temple area. We searched as many areas as possible, before finally giving up as the sun began to fade. We were also beginning to wilt as the sun had started to get to us. All in all, it was a fantastic day and, even though I didn't find any new species for my records, I found a few surprises along the way.
Joe was extremely kind, friendly and pasasionate about nature and I would like to thank him for such a wonderful time. I will return very soon, Joe!
Here are the best photos of the day:
Scarce elsewhere, but common around Joe's home, is Brachydiplax sobrina. Unfortunately, the mature males managed to avoid my lens ... for now!

B. farinosa was also present, but in smaller numbers.

The amazingly rare-to-be-photographed female of the ultra common Ictinogomphus decoratus melaenops. Only the second time I have managed to photograph the female in over 6 years.

Another uncommon species ... 

... and finally a Ceriagrion sp. I can't quite put my finger on. Probably a strangely coloured or very old C. indochinense.