Tuesday, 5 January 2016

A Christmas safari - Da Lat - Con Dao - Phu Quoc

For a Christmas break Kameliya and I travelled to Da Lat, Con Dao and Phu Quoc. The first was good for 12 dragonfly species, the second for about 25 and the latter for 63. Needless to say, we were looking for a lot more than dragonflies, so this was not disappointing. Phu Quoc was out of season for some of the specialties, but with 63 species in 4 days of searching we still topped the 2007-2008 survey by Bui Huu Manh and its successor from 2011 by Do Manh Cuong et al. Floris Brekelmans in March 2015 found several additional species (notably Podolestes coomansi and Coeliccia kazukoae), so it was not surprising that there were still a few species that remained to be discovered.

On the list as given by Do et al. (2011) there are several species that were already present on the list of Bui, but judging from the photos in his photographic guide some of these are misidentifications. (Copera marginipes is clearly C. vittata, Cratilla lineata is Potamarcha congener, supposed Cratilla metallica looks to be Lathrecista asiatica, Ceriagrion auranticum looks to be C. calamineum, and Euphaea ochracea appears to be E. pahyapi.) Do et al. moreover suppose that the weird thoracic markings of Coeliccia yamasakii in Bui indicate a species novum, but I consider these immature examples of typical C. yamasakii. The unidentified Prodasineura is very similar to P. verticalis from southern Thailand and for the moment I treat it as such. This is not to diminish the value of their pioneering work. They did much to map the beauty of the Odonate fauna of Phu Quoc, which is under severe threat from the break-neck speed of the development of the island. Waterways are getting polluted and depleted, wetlands drained and build-up. Clearly environmental considerations are not keeping up with the urge to make a quick buck.

I will over the next days publish photos of some of the species found. Here I limit myself to my list of Phu Quoc and photos of wonderful Rhinagrion viridatum, a highlight of the trip. This species was recorded as Rhinagrion mima, but Kalkman & Villanueva (2011) already pointed out that the inclusion of R. viridatum in R. mima should be revised and R. viridatum given full species status.

The first of 7 males of beautiful Rhinagrion viridatum

Another male of the same smashing species

The List:

Vestalis gracilis
Libellago hyalina
Heliocypha biforata
Euphaea pahyapi****
Ischnura senegalensis
Aciagrion borneese
Agriocnemis minima*
A. nana*
A. pygmaea
Archibasis viola
Ceriagrion cerinorubellum
C. olivaceum*
Mortonagrion falcatum***
Pseudagrion australasiae*
P. microcephalum
P. rubriceps
P. pruinosum
P. williamsoni
Coeliccia kazukoae**
Pseudocopera ciliata*
Copera vittata**
Prodasineura verticalis**
Anax guttatus
Gynacantha basiguttata*
G. bayadera*
G. subinterrupta*
Ictinigomphus decoratus meleanops
Paragomphus capricornis*
Epophthalmia frontalis*
Acisoma panorpoides
Crocothemis servilia
Orthetrum sabina
O. neglectum*
O. chrysis
Pantala flavescens
Trithemis festiva
T. aurora
T. pallidinervis
Brachydiplax chalybea*
Brachythemis contaminata
Diplacodes nebulosa
D. trivialis
Hydrobasileus croceus
Indothemis limbata***
Lathrecista asiatica
Nannophya pygmaea
Neurothemis fluctuans
N. tullia
N. fulvia
N. intermedia*
Potamarcha congener
Pseudothemis jorina*
Rhodothemis rufa*
Rhyothemis phyllis
R. variegata
R. triangularis
Tetrathemis irregularis
Tholymis tillarga
Tramea transmarina euryale*
Urothemis signata
Zygonyx iris
Zyxomma petiolatum*
Rhinagrion viridatum

*   Refers to species first recorded on the island, although some are very common
** Coeliccia kazukoae had already been found by Floris Brekelmans, but is not rare. Prodasineura verticalis had been recorded as Prodasineura sp. Copera vittata had been misidentified previously (as C. marginipes), but is a very common species.
*** Refers to species recorded for the first time for Vietnam (as far as I know)
**** Refers to a species recorded for the first time for Vietnam, but misidentified in previous surveys.

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