Sunday, 15 June 2014

An eventful day at Tay Thien - Macromia urania and Macromia unca

To continue with the events of June 15 at Tay Thien, I saw a cool 3 species of Macromia. Macromia pinratani vietnamica is extremely common and normally it is also the only species that I see there. However, today I noticed in the lower part of the stream, on the way to the nunnery, where the water was running over cobblestones and grass, a Macromia flying about to oviposit. It was harassed by a male Sinorogomphus sachiyoae, but kept returning. I decided to try to catch it and was successful. Immediately after I had caught it a second female appeared, which I also caught, but after some photos released again. Because of the clear humeral stripe and facial bar, I thought these could be the females of Macromia clio, of which I found the male a few weeks back near Xuan Son. However, at home checking the pattern, that was clearly different. A little research at home pointed me in the right direction. When I verified the expansion of S7-9 the case was closed: Macromia urania! A species that has been recorded in Northern Vietnam before, and that was originally described from "Tonkin".

Female Macromia urania. Note large yellow marking on S2.
Different female in dorsal view. Note the small paired markings in the abdominal segments and the dark wing bases. The other specimen atypical in that respect.
Face of female Macromia urania

Thorax pattern of the same female

The labium, black, unlike M. clio

The leaf-like lobes on S8-9.

When I descended towards the end of the afternoon I wanted to get to another stream to check for evening flyers. I never made it, because when I crossed the lower part of the stream, I noticed 5-6 large Macromia flying rapidly and erratically over the water, sometimes dipping in it. They were robust and had brownish wings. It was real difficult to catch one to verify, but in hand it was easy. Macromia unca! Only recently discovered in Xuan Son, but swarming here in Tam Dao. Maybe it is not rare, just overlooked (which, given its crepuscular habits and fast flight is not too difficult to understand).

Another female Macromia unca!

The typical facial pattern

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