Tuesday, 5 May 2015

New Year's Resolution 1 in the pocket

I visited Mau Son several times before, but had failed to find the beautiful Rhinocypha chaoi that occurs there. I now had a vague inkling of where the stream was supposed to be that they inhabit and I plunged down the hills into the valley beyond Khuoi Cap Village, fighting my way heroically through the forest and the bamboo stands. And reached the stream. But not a single Rhinocypha chaoi in sight. A nice big stream with larger boulders, quite different from the trickles elsewhere on the mountain, but no jewels. I found a trail from the stream back towards the village, which was a great help, it being 36 degrees and a steep climb anyway. And the next morning, May 3, I made it back to the stream again. Lo and behold, there it was, a fresh male Rhinocypha chaoi. Not yet the fantastic blue creature in the New Year's Resolutions entry courtesy of Toan, but I was thrilled and happy to see it nonetheless. Clearly it is still early in the season for it. It should be more common towards the end of May.

Rhinocypha chaoi was described by Wilson in 2004 and is apparently widely distributed in southern China, although in Vietnam it is only known from this one site. Here are a few shots of it.

It will be much bluer, especially on the abdomen, but the basic pattern is already visible: immature male Rhinocypha chaoi.

In this photo of the same individual the areas on the abdomen that will be blue are already obvious.

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