Saturday 9 May 2009

Tholymis tillarga

Species name: Tholymis tillarga
Family: Libellulidae
A male resting in the shade during the day photographed 
on Pulau Sapi an island off Kota Kinabalu  

This is another common crepuscular libellulid like the two Zyxomma ssp. (obtusum & petiolatum) and are found in similar habitats, i.e. drains, weedy ponds and other open bodies of water. 
Two males in flight at dusk

It is active at dusk, flying to and fro along drains and across ponds, the males are quite conspicuous for the white wing patches. In flight they are rather frustrating to photograph! 
An immature male showing very faint white wing patch

A female

The body of this medium-sized insect is orange-brown and the hindwing has an amber tinted patch followed by a patch of bluish white in the males while this white patch is absent in the female. Hence its common name - Coral-tailed Cloudwing.

Distribution: widespread in tropical Asia, Africa and Australasia.

Sunday 3 May 2009

Drepanosticta versicolor

Species Name: Drepanosticta versicolor
Family: Platystictidae

Members of this family of small damselflies are dwellers of primary dipterocarp forest and found on small streamlets and boggy areas around springs. Drepanosticta spp are brownish bronze in colour, usually with abdomens marked sparingly with light blue or pale spots and they fly close to the ground in the shaded  forest understorey making them very difficult to see. I only saw this specimen for a few moments before it vanished back into the shadows!

Bornean platystictids are still not well studied and many more new species are likely to be found. However the insect in my photos is quite likely to be D. versicolor by virtue of the presence of a long sharp spine on the rear margin of its prothorax. (I thank Dr Rory Dow for identifying these, and other photos for me).

I took these photos on a recent visit to the Danum Valley Field Centre whose many jungle trails and streams proved to be ideal hunting grounds for me! Alas two days was simply too short!

Saturday 2 May 2009

Coeliccia nigrohamata


Species Name: Coeliccia nigrohamata

Family: Platynemididae

I found several males of these small damselflies with conspicious blue markings on the upperside of the thorax resting on low vegetation along a small streamlet on the forest edge in the Danum Valley Field Centre. Unlike most damselflies they were extremely unafraid and I could easily pick them up with my hand. (Unfortunately I did not see any females).

On checking Dr A G Orr's Dragonflies of Borneo later I found my photos matched that of Coeliccia nigrohamata. I was however informed that members in this group of Coeliccia were currently under reclassification and this could very well be classified as a different species! 
Coeliccia spp. are found in forested habitats, inhabiting fresh water marshes, streams and springs. They are not usually found in open country or big rivers. This particular species belongs to a group of blue-marked species in the genus, another group consists of mainly species with yellow markings. A species found in Peninsular Malaysia, C. octogesima has a famous blue telephone-shaped logo on the synthorax (see Dr Choong's blog).

Coeliccia nigrohamata  has been recorded from Brunei and Sabah.