Saturday, 22 November 2014

Agrionoptera insignis - a jewel of the rainforest

On November 16 we visited the general Bird Lake area in Cat Tien. This area had been impossible to visit during the wet season, apart from some pools and ponds along the main road. Now the forest was dry and the trail to the Lake passable. The deep pools along the road had turned into shallow, but clear and vegetated ponds, and it was here that I spotted a nicely black-yellow dragonfly with brownish marked abdomen. It turned out to be a female Agrionoptera insignis. In the same general area I also saw another 4 males. Although we had not observed it in the wet season, it may have been around, just escaping detection in the dark and rainy weather. Be that is it may, this is apparently the first time this species is recorded from Vietnam. Surprising, as it is a wide-ranging species, occurring from New Caledonia all the way to the extreme south of Japan, and of course in neighboring Thailand and Laos. I guess it could be confused with Lathrecista asiatica, but that species is much less distinctly marked on the thorax and has black on the abdomen restricted to S9-10.

Female Agrionoptera insignis, still producing eggs. I let her go to continue her important work afterwards.
And the beautiful male Agrionoptera insignis
The male in situ

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