Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Huu Lien, another Holy Grail, meet Atrocalopteryx

Last weekend, November 16 and 17, we went to Huu Lien National Park, after the recent adventures of Sebastien there. It seemed like a good idea at the time and in fact it was! Two days, most of it brilliant sunny autumn weather and 48 species at the end of it. Could not locate a nice stream in the forest, so no Coeliccia, but otherwise it was a big success. Who would have thought, over a month ago we were already telling each other how sad it was, the season over already, but in fact, there is no end to the goodies in places like Huu Lien and Xuan Son.

Like in Xuan Son, the stream inhabiting Calopterids steal the show. We saw Vestalis gracilis, many Vestalaria miao, Neurobasis chinensis, Euphaea masoni, and the best, the two species of Atrocalopteryx.

Although both species could be found along the same streams, there were some striking differences. A. atrocyana was extremely approachable, allowing easy close-up shots and capture for admiring it by hand. On release it would alight on a twig nearby as if nothing happened. We saw only one female and most males under dense cover. On the other hand, the species novum in the area behaved rather differently. Males were often seen in the open, and several females were observed, but all were hard to approach, often flying away when we were still at 4-5 meters distance. Where atrocyana was most abundant they were absent (stream under full cover).

Here are some impressions of both species, brownish species novum and blueish atrocyana. Females were brown, with species novum displaying brilliantly white pseudo-pterostigmata.

Atrocalopteryx atrocyana male, with all green face

Atrocalopteryx atrocyana, female

The same female, displaying all brownish wings

The brilliant Atrocalopteryx atrocyana male, with stunning blue wings in display

The same male, note the hole in the wing. The wings are very broad.

The Atrocalopteryx auco* male, note the white flecks on the face.
* Matti Hamalainen just published this species (2014)

Slightly different exposure showing the color more vividly.

The female Atrocalopteryx auco, note the white pseudo-stigmata

Another male

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