Friday, 15 January 2016

Prodasineura mayhem in Cat Tien

James Holden is still in Cat Tien National Park and has expanded his search for Odonata to now also include damsels. Amazingly, he found three Prodasineura species in addition to the two species already known from the park. One of these was at the top of my wish list for 2015 (and the one I failed to see), another is a species described as recently as 2015 by Oleg Kosterin from Cambodia, and the third is a species that I also recently recorded from Phu Quoc and that may well be part of a complex of species that still needs sorting out. I will introduce all three here.

The first wonderful species is Prodasineura doisuthepensis. This smashing species was described in 2007 by Hoess from Thailand. Although the IUCN red list suggests it may be the junior synonym of P. auricolor, it has now been recorded from Vietnam and from Cambodia and appears to be a solid species. Not only are males distinctively different in coloration and shape of markings on their cranium, females too are differently colored. The specimen I already published on my blog (photographed by Toan) has relatively restricted blue dorsal markings and seems to also have less extensive blue on the cranium, so it is possible that another blue-marked species is in play. The specimens from Cat Tien are identical to those from Thailand.

Prodasineura doisuthepensis, photo courtesy of James Holden
Another male, courtesy of James Holden
In hand shot, courtesy of James, showing extent of blue on thorax and head
If the discovery of this dream damsel was not enough, one day James was taking its picture (see the second one above), when another species of Prodasineura flew into the frame. This turned out to be Prodasineura verticalis. Having said that, the P. verticalis from the north of Vietnam has much reduced markings on the dorsum of the thorax and it is possible these are in fact different species. I saw the same species also on Phu Quoc, but failed to make decent pictures.

"Southern" Prodasineura verticalis, Phu Quoc. Note black appendages.

Prodasineura verticalis, southern type, Cat Tien (courtesy James Holden). Note the pale appendages.
Immature male P. verticalis from Phu Quoc. White appendages and pale eyes.
And last, but not least, wonderful Prodasineura hoffmanni, described in 2015 by Oleg from Cambodia, albeit within walking distance of the border with Vietnam. Apparently it has also been recorded from Vietnam by Toan. A distinctive and very beautiful species.

Prodasineura hoffmanni from Cat Tien, courtesy James Holden

Prodasineura hoffmanni in hand, courtesy of James

And the same male, dorsal shot, by James. It looks somewhat darker here.

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