Friday, 22 July 2016

Platylestes platystylus - also in Vietnam

May 28 I received an email from James Holden. Platylestes platystylus had been found at the fish ponds in Cat Tien National Park. Thrilling, because this is a little known and elusive species, according to the IUCN website. Dennis Farrell has reported it from Thailand, where it was known to occur, and it has also been recorded from Lao DPR. It ranges all the way west to India, although there is some doubt whether this really all concerns the same species.

Anyway, it was great to hear it occurred in Vietnam, because Lestidae are quite uncommon here, with just a few species compared to for instance Thailand. I was also rather envious, because it is a beautiful species and because I want to see every species known in Vietnam. Frustrating, because it is of course impossible to see everything.

On June 11 I was crossing the provincial border from Gia Lai Province into Dak Lak Province when I noticed an inundated depression in the open landscape. Until recently the area had been parched, but now the rains had started and water had accumulated there. It turned out it was probably the remnant of what once was a swamp. It was late in the afternoon, but I did see a few interesting damsels and decided to have a closer look. And there it was: a male Platylestes platystylus! It moved away quickly, but I had no doubt, but also no picture. While dusk settled I had to leave, but decided to return on my way back from my destination (Bao Loc).

The next morning I drove further south and into Lam Dong Province when I noticed a small shallow and grassy pond that looked promising. And there I found my second male Platylestes platystylus. Maybe not that uncommon after all, just occurring in not often researched temporary habitat?

On the way back north a week later (June 18) I revisited the depression in Dak Lak, but now in the morning. It was really crowded will all sorts of exiting species. Amongst the 35 species or so I found on the 1.5 hectare several species of Aciagrion, several Lestidae, several Ceriagrion, but also Indothemis limbata and I. carnicata side by side, and lots of other goodies. And at least 10 Platylestes platystylus. Now I had my photos sorted.

The first Platylestes platystylus male on photo, June 12 in Lam Dong Province
The same male in dorsal view

This is the female, June 18 in Dak Lak Province

Another male on June 18

Male appendages in lateral view

And male appendages in dorsal view

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