Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Cephalaeschna aritai - a peculiar Aeshnid

May 17 I was posting by a little pond near Sa Pa, waiting for a medium-sized dragonfly I had seen earlier that day (that subsequently turned out to be Procordulia asahinai), when at the end of the afternoon an Aeshnid appeared that started hunting erratically over the pond and nearby bushes. It seemed to have a very striped abdomen and I was lucky enough to be able to net it. In hand it did not look like anything I knew. Especially the thorax pattern was very peculiar. It was a female, but I was hopeful I might be able to find out what it was, exactly because of its weird patterning. I decided to write to Haruki Karube, who was quick to respond and pointed to Cephalaeschna aritai, a species he described from Sa Pa in 2003. Because the types where bought from local collectors there was some doubt about their exact origin, but this record proves that it indeed occurs in the Sa Pa region. The female and the male share the peculiar pattern on the thorax, making this species easy to recognize.

Female Cephalaeschna aritai, with interesting pattern of spots and lines both laterally and dorsally on the thorax, plus a very distinctly banded abdomen.
The interesting broken dorsal line and rectangular antehumeral spot.

Facial pattern in brown and pale yellow

Cephalaeschnid abdominal tip

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