Sunday, 20 October 2013

Rhinagrion hainanense

This weekend I visited Xuan Son National Park again, because I had the feeling there was more to be found there still. And indeed, there was! Saturday was very misty and drizzly still; the aftermath of the Typhoon that passed in the days before. Sunday was however mostly sunny, and wonderfully dry and cool, about 23 degrees. Apart from some great birds I saw some very interesting species of dragonfly, enough to keep me busy on the blog in the coming days. In total I saw 8 new species, two Coeliccia, two Ceriagrion, a Planaeschna, a Rhinocypha, a Vestalaria, and last but definitely not least, Rhinagrion hainanense, which I will introduce here.

This fantastic dragonfly like damsel I bumped in to when I was checking a roadside pond of extremely clear water, filled by a clear stream that welled up in the forest nearby. The pond was man-made, dammed up to provide a place for washing at a shack just downstream. The pond produced the two new Ceriagrions too, but my eye was caught by something waving a little red flag at me. It turned out to be a male Rhinagrion displaying to a female perched on a branch. The male was hovering nearby, abdomen bend down and forward with the last few segments somehow spread out and bright red. The quivering motion made it seem like a bright red little flag indeed! Absolutely brilliant, I have seen nothing like it. When not chasing the females and displaying, it was sitting horizontally on a branch with wings spread out horizontally. Very unlike any damsel I have ever seen, hugging the branch like a little gomphid.

Rhinagrion hainanense

What an absolutely fantastic damsel!

Close-up shot in hand, the red ventral side of the last segments just visible

Rhinagrion hainanense, female

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