Monday, 21 April 2014

Lestes nodalis - a weird Lestes!

April 21 was Easter Monday and thus a holiday for me. After two days in cloudy Hanoi I just had to go somewhere, but the weather was not appealing at all. I decided to go for it anyway and drove to Huu Lien Nature Reserve. Huu Lien is a brilliant place for dragonflies, still, but there is always the sound of chainsaws in the background and I dread seeing cut down trees left and right in the last decent patches of the forest. Also, the water quality is deteriorating. All in all I hope that we will be able to enjoy the bounty of the place also in years to come. Anyway, I had nearly 50 species on a mostly cloudy day in April, not bad at all. I saw two Gomphids I had not seen before, one of which I could catch. More on that later.

When checking a field laid bare with some weeds near a shallow stream that dries out in winter, bordering agricultural lands, I noticed a weirdly colored Lestes. I was able to take some pictures and catch it, but afterwards I saw nearly 10 more, both males and females. Checking the literature at home it turned out to be Lestes nodalis (Selys, 1891). A species known from Thailand, Myanmar, India, and bordering China (Guangxi, Yunnan), so it is maybe not surprising it also occurs here in Vietnam, but it had not been recorded before, so another addition to the Vietnamese list!

The coloration of both the male and the female is rather peculiar, lacking the metallic shine so often seen in the genus. The appendages are very typical and the pterostigma is dark with a light border all around.

Lestes nodalis, male

Another male, showing off its fabulous colors

Close-up of head and thorax

The female is not less weird in color, maybe more so

Another female, note also the darker trailing edge of the slightly amber wings

Appendages of the male in dorsal view. Superior appendages with distally pointed projection, mostly pale yellowish with black tips.

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