Sunday 24 August 2008

Macrodiplax cora

Species Name:
Macrodiplax cora
Family: Libellulidae

I first photographed a single male of this species in August 2005 in an oil palm plantation repeatedly flying from and landing on short weeds (Top Photo). As this species was mentioned as unrecorded from Borneo in publications I was not sure about its identity until Rory Dow confirmed that this is M. cora when I emailed him a photo. I have since found a breeding population at a reclaimed area in the sea front in Lahad Datu town, therefore proving that they are definitely present in Borneo too.

M. cora is a medium-sized red-orange dragonfly, the sexes are similar except that the females are more orange than red. They breed in open coastal areas and in brackish, or saltish water bodies.

(Centre photo: A pair in tandem)

Distribution: Very widespread species recorded from Japan, China, Taiwan, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines.

(Bottom photo: Female, taken in Mindanao, Philippines)

Saturday 2 August 2008

Gynacantha basiguttata

Species Name: Gynacantha basiguttata
Family: Aeshnidae

Aeshnids are mainly medium-sized to very large dragonflies with about 30 species found in Borneo, Gynacantha basiguttata being one of the most commonly met with. This family includes the largest and heaviest odonate in the world – Tetracanthagyna plagiata, which is also found in Borneo.

Like most members of this family, G. basiguttata is usually seen hawking for small insects at dawn and at dusk and is sometimes attracted to the lights in houses. During the day both sexes could be found resting in undergrowth in the forest. Members of this genus look very similar but males can usually be identified by the unique shape their anal appendages, females however are very difficult to identify to species.

Usually this species fly rather fast and the only chance of taking their photo is when they fly into buildings at night or if you are lucky enough to find the place where they take their daytime siesta! However I was lucky one evening to see one repeatedly "hovering" for periods long enough for me to focus on it and take a series of flight photos of it!