Sunday, 9 August 2015

Camacinia gigantea - finally!

Sebastien recorded Camacinia gigantea in a park in Hanoi in mid-April several years back, proving that the species occurs at least as a vagrant in northern Vietnam. It has also been recorded from the south, for instance from Cat Tien by Cuong. As this is one of the largest libellulids in the world and good looking too, I was eager to see it and kept my eyes open for it over 2 long years. When I could not find it in the north, I assumed it would be easier in the south, but during my visits to Cat Tien I could not find it there either. And likewise I never saw it in the Mekong Delta, although it reputedly occurs close to the sea and in mangrove areas. Clearly it is not common in Vietnam and at least in the north must be rare. It is after all a rather large and conspicuous species.

Today I visited Xuan Son National Park with the objective of finding Planaeschna species. Maybe as the result of the three weeks of cold and rain there were not that many dragonflies around and several species normally common were completely absent. But when I checked the little round shallow pond area that generally produces Orolestes selysi and Gynacantha species I got a thrill when I noticed two large red dragonflies fluttering over the now brim full pond. Two males of Camacinia gigantea! Somehow floating in the air at high altitude they must have noticed the shallow vegetated pond where for sure they normally do not occur. One male disappeared, but the other perched on twigs and emergents all day. That is, when it was not patrolling the pond in large circles, with bouts of rapid wing beats interspersed with short gliding moments. Its flight pattern not so different from that of Camacinia harterti, although that species stays inside the forest.

This species was a dream come true for me. There are several species that Sebastien recorded and that I have not seen yet, but this one especially has been bothering me.

First shot of the two males flying together. Actually they did not really seem to chase each other. In fact they seemed to ignore each other most of the time, even when both were patrolling

This one male Camacinia gigantea perched in the afternoon in the shade on emergent vegetation. Few leaves could support its weight when it grasped them, so it had a few preferred spots.
It is a magnificent species. The large hole in the right hind wing indicates it has travelled (I presume) 

The venation is magnificent. I did not try to count the number of cells in the anal loop, but there are many. The detail is mind-boggling.

No comments:

Post a Comment