Saturday, 26 October 2013

Noguchiphaea yoshikoae and Vestalaria miao

This weekend provided excellent opportunity to compare two similar species, even if in fact they belong to different genera. Noguchiphaea yoshikoae, named in 1976 by Asahina, and Vestalaria miao, named by Wilson and Reels in 2001. In Xuan Son National Park they can be seen side by side almost, at least in close proximity and on the same small stream. Interestingly in the morning only V. miao was present, but later in the afternoon there were as many N. yoshikoae as there were V. miao.
Although both species have a green head, green prothorax, green and yellow synthorax and green abdomen with whitish S8-10 dorsum and otherwise also a similar shape, there are clear structural differences in the shape of the appendages and in the typical horns that Noguchiphaea sports on the posterior lobe of the prothorax. These are more apparent in the female than in the male, but are well visible in hand. However, there are some clear characteristics that can be seen with binoculars to separate these two species. Although V. miao has a brownish edge along the wingtips, N. yoshikoae has very clear black "stigmata" (although technically not the same as pterostigmata, it is a pigmented area, black and well demarcated. Also, the lower half of the eyes is, just as in the females, blueish grey in Noguchiphaea, but green in Vestalaria.

Vestalaria miao, male

Another male. Note green eyes and diffuse brownish wingtips.

Noguchiphaea yoshikoae, male. Note blueish grey lower halves to eyes (and dark reddish brown upper) and very sharply demarcated stigmata of the front wings.
In close up the horns on the pronotum are also visible in the males of Noguchiphaea.

Note the lack of horns in Vestalaria and the color of the eyes
Note the horns on the posterior lobe of the prothorax and the color of the eyes of Noguchiphaea

Noguchiphaea yoshikoae, male in hand, compare shape with V. miao
V. miao, male in hand, compare with N. yoshikoae for instance shape of appendages

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