Sunday, 23 August 2015

Somatochlora dido - another Sa Pa goodie

This weekend we went to Sa Pa to search specifically for a quite brilliant and seldom seen emerald, Somatochlora dido. This is an autumn species, seemingly flying from August to October. Sebastien Delonglee has some stunning photos of the species on his blog and clearly I wanted to see this species for myself. So we drove to the Love Waterfall area and arrived at 10.30 in the morning to see several males almost immediately. Just as well, for clouds started to build up before I got a few shots in and after that we had to wait quite a long time for a few short spells of sunshine, during which one male reappeared. I was able to make some quick in-flight shots before it took off again and it became cloudy once more. Hopefully I will have another and better opportunity later this autumn, but for now I am just happy that we saw it.

The species was described by Needham in 1930 from Sichuan. It has been recorded from a few scattered high-mountain locations in southern China. Wilson synonymised S. dido with S. taiwana from Taiwan, after finding that specimens from Guangxi were intermediate in the structure of the appendages. It is interesting to note that specimens from Taiwan seem to miss to first lateral stripe, which is so prominent in S. dido. Be that as it may, S. dido was recorded in 1995 by Asahina from the same general location as where Sebastien found it again in 2012 and 2013. To this we can now add my own 2015 records. So far the only site known from Vietnam, although it may be occurring in the forest around Fansipan. There are various bogs in there, although difficult to access because entry is restricted.

Somatochlora dido, male. Note the diffuse orange-yellow postclypeus and bright yellow labium, and the two yellow lateral stripes.

This species hovers about 1-1.50 m high over trickles in acidic swamp areas and flies amongst tree tops when hunting

1 comment:

  1. I am presently conducting phylogenetic research, using molecular data, on the genus Somatochlora. I need fresh specimens (immersed in acetone and air dried). Somatochlora dido apparently is a species complex. Asahina may have been in error. My name is Tim Vogt. I urge you to contact me at my email address

    I live with my wife and elderly father in the United States. Please help me with my research.

    Thank you very much.

    Best wishes.

    Tim Vogt