Sunday, 1 January 2012

Tropical rockmaster

At this time of year, rainforest clearings are swarming with tropical rockmaster damselflies (Diphlebia euphoeoides). This is a female and, although she is by no means drab, she fades a little next to the male in all his pale blue glory. (See the previous post for his portrait.)

These lively damselflies occur along streams and rivers in NE Queensland and New Guinea. Of the five species in the genus, this is the only one to extend beyond eastern Australia.

The tropical rockmaster can be distinguished from the very similar sapphire rockmaster (D. coerulescens), which it partially overlaps in distribution, by the extent of the blue markings on terga (abdominal segements) 4 – 6 in the male. These markings are very small in the tropical rockmaster, so the abdomen appears almost wholly black between the saddle on the first few terga and the half-bands towards the end. The sapphire rockmaster is also a deeper blue than its tropical relative, as both its common and Latin names suggest.

Lest you think I am displaying an awesome knowledge of damsel- and dragonflies, I only know this because I have open in front of me a much used and loved copy of The Complete Field Guide to Dragonflies of Australia by G√ľnter Theischinger and John Hawking. It is odonatelicious.


Thanks to Duncan at Ben Cruachan, who had the same idea about this identity of this damselfly. I love this whole series of tubes known as the internet.


Russell said...

Beautiful damselfly photo. I must forward this link to a friend who love dragons and things. Happy Year of the Dragon.

Snail said...

Thank you. :) Sometimes the wildlife co-operates!

I didn't know this was going to be the Year of the Dragon! I shall now pretend that of course I did and it was all planned.

Pay no attention to the comment behind this curtain

Oh, that's a rubbish curtain.

Happy new year to you, Russell!

sumon220 said...
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laurak@forestwalkart said...

Happy Year of the Dragon(fly)!

beautiful picture!!

ROCKMASTER. i like that name...but where are her earbuds?

Snail said...

It certainly ought to be the name of a compilation album.