Sunday, 5 October 2014

Vestalaria smaragdina and Noguchiphaea yoshikoae at Pia Oac

Right near the top of the pass on the TL 212, near the little bog that has been such a great place during recent trips, the forest was full with Yellow-and-green Calopterids. In the early morning just inside the forest edge we noticed several females of Noguchiphaea yoshikoae, with their horned prothorax and obvious pseudo-pterostigma relatively easy to recognize. Later, when the sun was out, we also had quite a few males. We then also started noticing a few orange-winged similar looking damsels mixed in with the crowd, but on closer inspection these missed the spot at the wingtip and on even closer inspection, missed horns on the prothorax and had different appendages. At home the riddle was quickly solved. These are Vestalaria smaragdina, a widespread montane species, occurring from India in the west to Vietnam in the east, although to my knowledge only collected by Asahina from Sapa. Being an autumn species, it may have largely eluded visiting research parties, that favor springtime and early summer. We not only saw it at the same location with the Noguchiphaea. Although we only noticed the latter species at that one location, we ran into Vestalaria smaragdina at several streams at different altitudes inside the park. For Noguchiphaea this is a new location. I have seen it before at Tam Dao and inside Xuan Son NP.

Male Vestalaria smaragdina, somewhat skittish and later I was focussed on other things, so this is the best in situ shot

Scan of male V. smaragdina, showing orange wings without pseudo-pterostigma. Clear-winged males also occur.
Appendages of V. smaragdina in dorsal view
And in ventral view, showing the hooked inferiors and lobed superiors
Female Noguchiphaea yoshikoae under flash, note bleu-grey lower eyes

Male N. yoshikoae caught in the act. Note the blue lower eyes and dark spot on wingtip.

Characteristic appendages of the male, with dorsal spine

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