Sunday, 22 May 2011

The Third Copera Brother

I still remember when I first came across the Copera vittata early last year and was quite fascinated by the phantom feel of the immature damselfly as it moved around almost invisibly among the forest undergrowth while the adult Copera vittata had such brightly coloured orange-red legs that made me gape.  A few weeks after that, I had another 'wow' moment when I found the Copera ciliata and was charmed by the white legs of those damselflies. 

This past week, the third Copera brother gave me another 'wow' moment when I suddenly realised there was a tiny yellow damselfly perched ever so quietly on the grass blade amidst all the fanfare of the dancing Vestalis damselflies.

This damselfly, the Copera marginipes of the family Platycnemididae, is marked with yellow streaks and has flattened yellow legs.  The male has hindwing length of 17 mm.  This species is widespread in tropical Asia.

Anyway, I am now wondering why I hadn't taken more photos of this damselfly and from different angles too.  I have taken only a few good photos, all from the same angle...

Sigh...  I wonder if I will be able to find it again along that forest stream?

Take a look at the three Copera brothers side by side...
...and look at those legs! 

Copera vittata

Copera ciliata

Copera marginipes

Odonata Checklist - Langkawi




Family Calopterygidae

Echo modesta (Laidlaw, 1902)
Neurobasis chinensis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Vestalis gracilis (Rambur, 1842)

Family Chlorocyphidae

Heliocypha biforata (Selys, 1859)
Libellago lineata (Burmeister, 1839)

Family Lestidae

Lestes praemorsus decipiens (Kirby, 1893)
Platylestes heterostylus (Lieftinck, 1932)

Family Coenagrionidae

Aciagrion borneense (Ris, 1911)
Aciagrion hisopa (Selys, 1876)
Agriocnemis femina (Brauer, 1868)
Argiocnemis rubescens rubeola (Selys, 1877)
Ceriagrion auranticum  (Fraser, 1922)
Ceriagrion cerinorubellum (Brauer, 1865)
Ischnura senegalensis (Rambur, 1842)
Pseudagrion australasiae (Selys, 1876)
Pseudagrion microcephalum (Rambur, 1842)

Family Platycnemididae

Copera ciliata (Selys, 1863)
Copera marginipes (Rambur, 1842)
Copera vittata (Selys, 1863)

Family Protoneuridae

Prodasineura humeralis (Selys, 1860)
Prodasineura laidlawii (Forster, 1907)



Family Gomphidae

Gomphidia maclachlani (Selys, 1873)
Ictinogomphus decoratus melaenops (Selys, 1858)
Paragomphus capricornis (Forster, 1914)

Family Aeshnidae

Anax guttatus (Burmeister, 1839)

Family Libellulidae

Acisoma parnorpoides (Rambur, 1842)
Aethriamanta brevipennis (Rambur, 1842)
Aethriamanta gracilis (Brauer, 1878)
Brachydiplax chalybea (Brauer, 1868)
Brachydiplax farinosa (Kruger, 1902)
Brachythemis contaminata (Fabricius, 1793)
Cratilla lineata (Brauer, 1878)
Cratilla metallica (Brauer, 1878)
Crocothemis servilia (Drury, 1770)
Diplacodes nebulosa (Fabricius, 1793)
Diplacodes trivialis (Rambur, 1842)
Hydrobasileus croceus (Brauer, 1867)
Indothemis limbata (Selys, 1891)
Neurothemis fluctuans (Fabricius, 1793)
Neurothemis fulvia (Drury, 1773)
Onychothemis testacea (Laidlaw, 1902)
Orthethrum chrysis (Selys, 1891)

Orthethrum glaucum (Brauer, 1865)
Orthethrum sabina (Drury, 1770)
Orthethrum testaceum (Burmeister, 1839)
Pantala flavescens (Fabricius, 1798)
Potamarcha congener (Rambur, 1842)
Rhodothemis rufa (Rambur, 1842)
Rhyothemis obsolescens (Kirby, 1889)
Rhyothemis phyllis (Sulzer, 1776)
Rhyothemis triangularis (Kirby, 1889)

Tholymis tillarga (Fabricius, 1798)
Tramea transmarina euryale (Selys, 1878)
Trithemis aurora (Burmeister, 1839)
Trithemis festiva (Rambur, 1842)
Trithemis pallidinervis (Kirby, 1889)
Tyriobapta torrida (Kirby, 1889)
Urothemis signata insignata (Selys, 1872)
Zygonyx iris malayana (Rambur, 1842)

Platycnemididae - Copera marginipes

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Libellulidae - Trithemis pallidinervis

The Last Of The Trithemis Dragonflies!

After all this time, I have finally come across the last of the Trithemis species of dragonflies listed for Peninsular Malaysia, namely the Trithemis pallidinervis.  Finally!
I was on my way home as it would be sunset soon.  Not that I am afraid of the dark but I could feel the beginnings of the rumblings that indicate it is almost time for dinner!  But... I could not resist making one last stop at another pond.  And it was again good thinking to follow my instinct, as this was where I had found the Trithemis pallidinervis.

I had walked along the perimeter of the pond and scanned the area to see which dragonflies are actively out and about.  In the reflection of the evening sun on the pond, I could see quite a lot of tandem pairs of those tiny blue damselflies of the Pseudagrion species.  There was also a large dragonfly skimming at speed over the water in large sweeps and it made a fly-by close to me.  From its shape and markings, quite definitely the Anax guttatus, of which I still do not have a photo as yet.

I walked on to the next spot and there was this dragonfly that seems to be doing a dance of love with a stalk of grass.  It was perched on a stalk but would often fly off only to come back to it again and again.  It would not sit still for very long.  In my mind's eye, I see a pas de deux...  like the variations in a classical ballet duet.  I watched with a smile on my lips, fascinated by this dragonlfy and the rumblings of hunger were all forgotten...

The Trithemis pallidinervis of the family Libellulidae is widespread in mainland Asia.  The male has hindwing length of 31.5 mm and it has light coloured wing-veins and well-defined pale markings on its synthorax.

It seems to like to perch with its wings almost folded and held above in a rather discernible pose.  It is a beautiful display.  It had kept me mesmerised.

I sat there and watched this elegant dance of the dragonfly, until the sun had dipped behind the hills and then it was back to reality... the hunger calls had started again...

Here's a look at all three species of the Trithemis dragonflies found in Peninsular Malaysia, and in Langkawi too: Trithemis aurora (top), Trithemis festiva (middle) and Trithemis pallidinervis (bottom).

Trithemis aurora

Trithemis festiva

                                                                                                        Trithemis pallidinervis


Friday, 20 May 2011

Libellulidae - Onychothemis testacea

A Rare Find!

The morning had started nice and bright and it stayed that way practically the whole day.  It was perhaps a bit too bright and glaring for photos but it did not stop me from my jaunt in the outdoors.

And I am glad I went on my dragonfly hunting spree as I had found another species to add to my checklist.  That makes a total of three new additions for this week!

I had set out late in the morning and had gone for a walk along a stream.  Initially it had seemed as if it would be futile as there weren't anything buzzing around at all except a few butterflies.  Perhaps it was too hot today?

I scoured the banks and finally spotted a Trithemis festiva.  One dragonfly.  At least there was one!  Nothing else after that.  So I turned around and went upstream.  No dragonflies.  I crossed the stream and kept walking.  Then I spotted one Ceriagrion cerinorubellum.  Okay, now I've got one dragonfly and one damselfly.  But what else?  Soon after that, a few more species came into view.  The Neurothemis fulvia, Trithemis aurora, Heliocypha biforata and another darkish dragonfly on a stick some distance away.  Perhaps another T. festiva?  But it had looked different when it took off for a short flight and landed to perch again on the same stick.

Here's what I've got!

This dragonfly is the Onychothemis testacea of the family Libellulidae.  The male has hindwing length of 39 mm.  According to the Pocket Guide, this species can be found in clear forest streams and is rare in Peninsular Malaysia but widespread in tropical Asia.

If you look closely, you will find that it has long legs with sparse, robust spines on them and there are yellow bands on its deep metallic green thorax.  Its abdomen is also strongly banded.

Even if I do not find any other dragonflies today, this would have made my day!  But I would have to go back to this stream again some other day and get better photos of this dragonfly!

What a gem!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

An Afternoon With The Vestalis!

It had rained in the morning.

So... there goes my plan for the day, I thought.  Nevertheless, I was quite happy to stay indoors with a good book and stay dry and nice on days when I don't have to get all drenched in the rain like when I am working in the outdoors.

Contrary to what the weather forecast had said, rain in the morning and thunderstorms in the afternoon, the sun did come out much later in the day.  I was feeling rather lazy by then and was a bit reluctant to get moving but an opportunity to go looking for dragonflies is something I seldom resist!

The first creature to greet me was a Vestalis damselfly.  And as it turned out, this is one of the rare days with encounters of more than a dozen Vestalis damselflies!  Perhaps even a score... I had lost count!

Not only that, even though I had just missed witnessing a pair in wheel, I did get the chance to observe the behaviour of an ovipositing pair.

The male Vestalis gracilis damselfly was guarding the female throughout the ovipositing process, which took over fifteen minutes to complete.

The female damselfly took her time, carefully ovipositing her eggs into the grass stems at several different spots in the flowing water.

The male damselfly would be nearby the whole time.  Sometimes perched right next to her and keeping a lookout while at other times keeping a watchful eye on the female.

Once the oviposition was completed, both damselflies flew away in different directions to perch in different places.

I would have taken tons of photos but it was not easy.  The female would be perched on a grass stem that is quivering in the ripple of the stream.  With the slight breeze, she would also be quavering and almost swaying from side to side while she is ovipositing her eggs.  Add to that, my hands were shaky in my haste to capture the moment as fast as I could in case I missed it.  Arrrgh!

Finally, I did calm down enough to get a few shots that good enough!

After that, I did come across another pair of Vestalis damselflies in the midst of their courtship dance and sat down to watch and wait.  During this time, the female damselfly stopped momentarily to perch only once and the dancing would continue again.

But it was not meant to be.  After about thirty minutes, both damselflies went their separate ways.  Perhaps it had been just tedious.  Or perhaps because night would be approaching soon.

But, besides the Vestalis damselflies, I have another two species to add to my checklist!

What a great day indeed!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Pics Of The Week - Butterflies & A Moth!

These are some of the butterflies and a moth spotted during the week!
Have not put a name to all of them as yet.....

A tiny, attractive 'black-and-white' butterfly on the muddy trail.
Caleta roxus pothus, the Straight Pierrot, of the Lycaeninae family.

Mycalesis mineus, the White-Banded Bush Brown, came visiting and was found perched on the balcony on one of the days when I got home.

A white moth (?) hidden among the grasses.

Could this be of the Arhopala species?  A Metallic Oakblue?
Or the Virachola species?  The Indigo Flash?
I still think it's neither of them!

Papilio helenus, the Red Helen, found in Malaysia only.

Certainly hope those (Japanese) butterfly catchers that I have been bumping into don't catch these to 'extinction' in Langkawi.
I certainly feel it is wrong of them to come here for a holiday with the main objective of catching our butterflies. 
Very wrong indeed.


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Libellulidae - Diplacodes nebulosa

Another Blue Dragonfly With Dark Wing Tips

This is another blue dragonfly with dark wing tips, a rather similar description as for the Cratilla metallica, but this dragonfly is much smaller in size and it is also of a lighter blue.

It is the Diplacodes nebulosa of the family Libellulidae and the male has hindwing length of only 19 mm.  According to the Pocket Guide, this species is widespread in tropical Asia.

I had come across this dragonfly for the first time in February-March 2010, over a year ago now, and have not seen it again since.  Perhaps because I have not been looking out for it in particular.

It would be nice to spot it again one of these days...

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Libellulidae - Cratilla metallica

Cratilla metallica

The first time I came across this dragonly was over a year ago and I had recently spotted it again around the same area.

This blue dragonfly is the Cratilla metallica of the family Libellulidae.  It has hindwing length of 36-38mm and easily recognised by the dark wing tips.  This species is widespread in tropical Asia.

So far, I have only seen one individual each time and have not even seen a pair of them.  Sightings don't seem to be very often either and I try to take a few photos each time though it hasn't always been successful.

Sometimes, I do wonder how much time will elapse before I see it again?

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Gomphidae - Macrogomphus spp

Found this exuvia of the Macrogomphus spp at the edge of the lotus pond. It measures approx. 6.5cm in length.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Outdoors = Nature = ;-)

Today turned out to be one for enjoying the pleasures of being in the outdoors, be it rain or shine, and simply enjoying nature.  And as it turned out, I have added more photos to my collection for dragonflies, damselflies and grasshoppers.

One of the first damselflies I spotted was the Heliocypha biforata.

And here's the female damselfly.

The Vestalis gracilis.  These damselflies were practically everywhere today!

The Vestalis gracilis, up close.

The Neurobasis chinensis, male.

A very young, teneral dragonly.
I had assumed it to be the Orthetrum sabina but I stand corrected.  It is the teneral dragonfly of the Gomphidae family. 


Thanks to dragonflyman for pointing it out.

Due to its large size, this is likely an exuvia of a dragonfly. 
I was thinking... a stone carving that looks like this would be strangely fascinating as the centrepiece in a garden.

A grasshopper feeding on a leaf...

Also came across a snake, but that will be the story for another day.....

Those Ants!

This photo was taken several days ago...
Those guys were keeping busy moving house and moving food stores... an indication of the change in weather and that the rains are a-coming... 
Quite often, if you keep an eye on nature, these are some of the indications you will find.
While our own senses have been numbed by so many artificial and superficial things that surround us.
Creatures, big and small, are much more attuned to nature than we are and have a story to tell if you care to listen to their silent voices.
Even if it might be just a tiny ant, they are still quite mighty ants!