A Journey of Dilettanti.
"Incomplete is a life of a human being which did not visit tropics".
Entomology has arisen in quite high latitudes and achieved there impressive advances, as most of the insect fauna of these areas (except for some remote regions of Siberia and N America) is well assessed. At the same time it is clear that to get a more or less adequate notion about the insect world, any northern entomologist must overcome his/her high latitude cretinism and visit tropics, which are the core of insect diversity. Bearing this in mind, I with an enormous gratitude accepted an invitation by Dr. Nikita Vikhrev from Moscow, an incredibly energetic businessmen, photographer, journalist and biologist combined within the same person, to join his winter trip to Thailand (at his expense!) to be something like an insect guide in that country, with a special attention to Odonata as his new and my old hobbies. Needless to say that, having dealt most of my life just with scarce Siberian dragonflies (with short recent escapades to South Korea, Japan, Germany and France thanks to the courtesy of Drs. Lee, Inoue, Dumont, Reinhard, Schneider and Papazyan), I had no idea about that country and its famously rich and splendidly studied fauna. But of course this could not comprise a reason to refuse such an incredible invitation. Two circumstances let me hope that situation would not be so awful: that there would be a dry season and that we were going to visit not the North of Thailand, so popular among odonatologists, but just a plain touristic area of Pattaya, which is mostly devoid of rich primary biota. I guess reports of visit to such uninteresting places rarely appear in press and in this respect this one might deserve some attention.
So, on January 24, 2005 we four: Nikita, his daughter Polina, his friend Boris Bronstein and me, disembark from a plain in the airport of Bangkok and took a long way to Pattaya. We passed through enormous city of Bangkok for ages until were able to see along the road an infinitely vast, perfectly flat and rather boring land with some ‘plain’ grass mostly burnt out by the sun, coco palms and immense water reservoirs, of which we argued if they were rice fields inundated for the winter or not. Close to the end of our way, somewhere at Si-Racha, strange sharp mountains appeared suddenly which were covered with pretty dry forests, reminding Russian forests in October, that was hard to percept under hot weather, but these mountains disappeared as suddenly as appeared. Darkness fell, and at last we arrived to Pattaya which looked for me as a huge city as well. We were accomodated in Natural Park Resort, on Jomtien Beach, which looked no other than paradise. Gekkos were the first representatives of local fauna which greeted us, while, judging by the amount of their excrements, all the nocturnal insects seemed to have been already eaten by them.
Many acquaintances of mine who managed to visit tropics, both Russian and foreign, reported disappointedly that "there are no insects in tropics!". Indeed, in the short Siberian spring and summer, if the air manages to be heated to 20oC and above, it starts boiling with insects (not least among them being mosquitoes), regardless if it is day or night. It seems that for some reason tropics support about the same amount of insect individuals but their activity is redistributed round the year (often for the same species: the fact, learnt from the atlas by Hämäläinen & Pinratana, that most odonate species may be found in Thailand round the year struck me much). So I was prepared to some disappointment. The reality appeared not so bad: at day the amount and diversity of insect looked quite reasonable, both not allowing to be bored of and not bringing about an emotional and informational shock. I would say that Thailand in winter and at daytime most reminded the Crimea in summer, both in respect to weather and insects. At night those informants would appear rather correct, but this does not relate much to odonates.
Next day we started to investigate the hotel surroundings. First we walked along some patch of land yet not used for hotel construction out of the beach and discovered a chain of very shallow pools with muddy banks, trampled with zebu cattle, along a road being parallel to the Jomtien Beach. At their banks there fly and rest numerous small and pretty Brachythemis contaminata, of both sexes, a dragonfly which we then found everywhere we come. Quite a number of males also flew over the water. Next in tall grass nearby we chose out some elegant Orthetrum sabina, which from distance at first seemed me to be some gomphids. However, this was one of very few species which I was able to recognise right in the field, basing of my scarce knowledge. We failed to get relevant literature in advance (next evening was devoted to attempts to found some literature on dragonflies in local bookstores, which failed nicely), so most of odonate species remained enigmatic for me until I return to Novosibirsk. There species were identified using the reprint edition of Asahina’s collected papers devoted to the Thai Odonata (Asahina, 1993), the Guide for the genera of the World fauna by the wing venation by Belyshev & Haritonov (1977), with reference to the colour photographs published in the Atlas of the dragonflies of Thailand by Hämäläinen & Pinratana (1999), the Thai book ‘Dragonflies and damselflies from Thailand’ by Pisuth Ek-Amnuay (1996), the Field guide to the dragonflies of Hong Kong (2003), and in a book ‘Dragonflies of the world’ by Silsby (2001). Identification was complicated by the fact, quite common with amateur odonatologists, that a number of species were registered only as photographs, as we all were happen to be eager photographers. It was Dr. Matti Hämäläinen who has patiently confirmed or suggested identification of many our photographs and some specimens by E-mail. Further on in the text, if otherwice not stated, I will mention species names as if I knew them when saw.
We spent most of that hot day exploring those muddy pools. In addition to the two mentioned species, I noticed several Pantala flavescens (I knew it at that thime as well) flying high above the bank and spotted one female. On the grass, I collected a young not fully coloured female of Crocothemis servillia. Then I crossed the road and moved to one of that agricultural reservoir surrounded by palms, under which some cabins were seen. At its bank, with partly inundated herbs, I found the same B. contaminata, one mature male of C. servilia, and in the herbs hid numerous tiny Agriocnemis f. femina, the species familiar for me after Japan. That was all for that day. But in the evening, hunting for danaid butterflies with my camera, I discovered a great place nearby: a swamp with tall grass, some ferns, Typha and Phragmites, surrounded with a tiny forest, almost right on the Jomtien Beach, between B. O. Guesthouse and Metro Jomtien Condotel. I bet it will exist no more than for a couple of years and some hotel is to be constructed on this place. There was no dragonfly or damselfly in twilight on this swamp, but it was promising for the next day.
Next day, January 26, we departed for this swamp in the morning, and returned to it about the noon. Results were not so diverse but interesting. On a grassy edge of the grove which surrounded the swamp, there fluttered a dozen of painted females of young Rhyothemis variegata, none of them being seen on the very swamp. On the swamp, there were A. femina in dense grass and quite many Ceriagrion auranticum around the swamp margins, in grass and among bushes, where some tiny patches of open water were present. I managed to make one successful shot and miss an enormously slender orange damselfly with a greenish pattern; its built allowed me to guess that it was some Aciagrion, and indeed it later appeared to be A. pallidum. On a sunny tree branch facing the swamp about 3 m high I noticed a perching dragonfly of quite a characteristic shape and coloration; I missed it but am sure it was Lathrecista asiatica (that is of no surprise of course). And a number of individuals of O. sabina were startled from grass here and there (but no B. contaminata). This dragonfly was also quite common in ruderal places between some tree groves elsewhere nearby. On Muddy Pools there were the same set of species as the day before (including some mature males of C. servilia) plus a male Diplacodes trivialis photographed by Nikita.
In the afternoon we were taken to a regular excursion to the ‘Tropical Garden’ Nong Nuch near Pattaya. Although beautiful, it gave nothing to our interest but I managed to escape from our attentive guides towards a sharp hill covered with rather green than dry forest. It took a considerable fast walk across abandoned hot alleys. At the hill foot, right on the margin of the garden, in a depression of a gentle grassy slope there was a small artificial pond with rather clear water. At the banks of this pond, along with regular A. femina and B. contaminata, numerous were Acisoma p. panorpoides, with their curious body shape (of course easily recognisable). There were also one or two males of Pseudagrion microcephalum, which by general appearance and behaviour (long flights low above open water) strongly resembled our Enallagma cyathigerum, but were somewhat larger and more cautious. Besides, while capturing A. panorpoides, I occasionally discovered in the net a young and soft male of Ceriagrion indochinense. At last I reached the woody hill and found an old and desolate road, grown up with weeds, going through the forest along the foot of the slope, and walked along it for half an our, to and back. There were some libellulids: I met several hovering P. flavescens and several softly fluttering Rhyothemis p. phyllis. Besides, I startled a male (well-recognisable for the specific wing spots) and captured a female of Tholymis tillarga. I felt I become too late and reluctantly abandoned the forest, but unfortunately arrived to our team too early and had to watch the elephant show.
Next day, January 27, was devoted to a sea journey to ‘the Coral Island’ Ko Lan. It was a beautiful hilly island with landscapes looking pretty Mediterranean, and so again strongly reminded me the Crimea, the most popular place of summer vacations of rather well being Soviet people. An impression strengthened by the fact that some of those, as well as their numerous New Russian children, were already here as well, on local beautiful beaches. I had a walk uphill and saw a number of P. flavescens hovering far above slopes and roads, beyond the reach of my net. Some, however, perched on high dry tree branches. Descending down to the beach they became more and more numerous, and I observed even a small swarm of dozens of individuals. From above I fixed a large swimming pool, which appeared long abandoned and had shallow dirty water with slime of cyanobacteria. Its concrete banks were full of libellulid exuviae, and the dragonflies were also here and numerous. At the banks there were a lot of Trithemis festiva and Macrodiplax cora (I remembered how this species looks like on photos but thought it was much smaller). They both perched on bushes and branches, but the latter were more cautious and were for longer time on the wing. As expected, there were also some B. contaminata and O. sabina. Several large bright-red libellulids ranging along the banks, there certainly were some C. servilia but maybe anything else as well; and of course many P. falvescens. One male D. trivialis ranged low along the water margin. There were also coenagrionids occupying slime mounds protruding from the water: quite many Ischnura senegalensis and few P. microcephalum. At one place near the pool among bushes, there restlessly fluttered a school of R. phyllis, all seemed to be females. So, the swimming pool mismanagement provided excellent refuge for odonates. Nikita found a very small and extremely dirty pool near the very beach, with a patch of reed and large dead leaves covering the bottom, which harboured quite a number of I. senegalensis, some C. servilia and one perching and ranging male of P. congener, as well as a male of Brachydyplax farinosa which I did not seen but which Nikita has photographed.
One January 28 Boris and me tried to visit the lake at Bang Phra and the Chan-ta-ten Waterfalls nearby, both recommended by Matti Hämäläinen, but although some people in the hotel kindly wrote those names on a sheet of paper in Thai, we failed to do this: although the driver of open taxi tried to discuss in English the matters of comparative sexuality of Thai and Russian women, he seemed to fail to understand where we would like to get to, and transported us right to the Khao Khieo Open Zoo. We did not complain much: while Boris took photos of birds in the aviarium I had an opportunity to make an close acquaintance with that completely dry forest on those sharp hills. This was something I never experienced: a pretty lifeless forest, deep autumn to my allusions, at so extremely hot weather. At the edge of such a slope forest near the metallic net of a huge aviarium, there was a territory of a beautiful, deep cherry-brown male of Neurothemis fulvia. He was too cautious for me to take a picture (especially because it turned later that I used a wrong mode of autofocus, iESP instead of SPOT), and I spent maybe an hour in vain attempts. He perched on rather high stocks or branches, being frightened disappeared above the forest but either appeared on a lawn in front of the aviarium or on the same edge. Once I saw how it flew above a small artificial pool and touched the water surface for a wink. Later I suddenly saw a female on the aviarium wall and even managed to photographed it, but it disappeared immediately. Nearby there was another new species for me, and even a new family. It was Prodasineura autumnalis. These elegant creatures (males) kept to grassy banks of a lotic ditch. As startled, they flew above the surface for a while and then landed on short grass hanging over the water, periodically slowly half-opening and suddenly folding their wings. When I later checked my photos, both digital and slide, I was struck to see that one individual differed strongly by definitely pruinosed sides of the pterothorax and lower appendages, being absolutely identical in all other respects: body built, pattern and size. Let you see: http://pisum.bionet.nsc.ru/kosterin/odonata/protoneuridae/prodasineurablue.htm.
I later found no mentions of such a feature in this species. Needless to say that I did not collect it; and at all had no intention to show the net in this zoo, especially with two gibbons, a white one and a black one, wandering and shouting on the opposite side of the ditch. Besides, there were scarce B. contaminata and Pseudagrion (most pribably microcephalum) on this ditch.
Upon return to our hotel, in short twilight, I had a walk to the Forest Swamp and Muddy Pools to learn if somebody demonstrates any crepuscular flight. In shade of the tree grove surrounding the Swamp I spotted an erratically flying male of Pseudothemis jorina, and in another similar place a fastly and very low flying female of D. trivialis. In Muddy Pools I observed nothing but a large lonely bat flying above them.
Three next days were devoted to a visit to two small national parks in the east, in order to see a bit of a true Nature. We rented a minibus with a very smart, friendy and smily driver named Nom (I recollect that so Tolkien’s people called Finarfin, an elf, and this in their language meant ‘wisdom’). By the road to the East we made a short stop for a lunch at some village about 5 km W of Clayeng, Rayong Province, surrounded with uniform Gewea plantations. At the road and deep in plantations there were digged rather deep holes with pools, covered with dead Gewea leaves on banks and bottom. There we found bright-yellow marked males and ovipopsiting tandems of Copera marginipes, several males of Brachydiplax chalybaea and fewer males of C. servilia. Besides, Nikita managed to photograph Neurothemis fluctuans and I saw some blue-faced male of Pseudagrion.
At last we arrived to the easternmost point of our trip, Khao-Khitchakut National Park in Chantaburi Province. The headquarters and bungalows were situated in a lovely place, with a large pond with many bays, lawns, and numerous trees which were labelled with so diverse names and belonged to so many families (Euphorbiaceae were most frequent) but looked for us almost the same, with similar smooth bark and hard glossy integrate pointed leaves. I immediately directed myself to the Krating Waterfalls. It was an evening already. Right beneath the waterfalls, in a damp place among large boulders I saw two red-legged males of Copera vittata. Then I started to rise up the torrent, which was quite weak this season so I preferred to climb up right on smoothly excarved rocks of its bed rather than along a smooth path nearby. Along this way I managed to notice two ghost-like creatures secretly keeping to shaded damp rocks which looked exactly as I imagined the damsels of a tropical rainforest. Indeed these were pale, striped with darker grey, males of Protosticta, and on the good detailed photographs I made they looked indistinguishable from P. k. khaosoidaoensis, the species to be expected at this locality. When I reached the high waterfalls, they were illuminated with the last red sunbeams and no more odonates were observed. At about midnight, a male D. trivialis appeared among those very few insects which were attracted by numerous lamps.
Next early morning, January 30, I investigated the large pond at the headquarters, which Nikita explored last evening. There were lot of Copera ciliata, and all the individuals photographed and observed were females, either mature with a white background or young with a reddish one. I met some old friends B. contaminata and I. senegalensis, but they were not numerous. And there was a mysterious story with Pseudagrion. In this place, we could not collect and our records were restricted to photographs. I have photographed a blue-faced male with abdominal segment X black above and appendages shorter than it, so it should be P. australasiae. But last evening Nikita had been photographed obviously P. wiliamsoni, with a yellowish face, identified by a body pattern with the aid of a photo in ‘Asian Dragonfly Home Page’. In several hundred metres from the pond, on a neatly cut bush I noticed and photographed a female of P. autumnalis.
Later in the morning I rose again to the Krating Waterfalls. In the lower part I encountered a young male of Trithemis aurora, while Nikita photographed a mature male and also saw a male P. jorina. Having reached the upper fall, I found a path through bamboo thickets on a very steep slope, climbed up along it and entered the stream valley above the waterfalls. At last, I happened to get to the tropical forest as I imagined it from my childhood: with a great diversity of ferns, from giant ones with leaves about 2 m long to tiny membranaceous Hymenophyllum and some pseudodichotomically branching Gleicheniaceae, with crispy Selaginella, with horned spiders and of course with diverse exotic butterflies including crouds of deeply violet-brown Euploea, hidy Melanitis, some strange hesperiids and lycaenids, and even such charismatic ones as Lamproptera swallowtail and the huge Parthenos (but one species, Neptis hylas, looked as if just having escaped from our Siberian birch forests). The stream run rather calmly, partly over smooth rocks partly through a sandy bed. The sun had appeared from clouds rather not long ago, and at first there were no dragonflies. Then I noticed a Vestalis (V. g. gracilis) slipping and disappearing among herbs. For an hour I spend there I noticed three individuals and captured one female, although it appeared quite difficult for them being so cautious and secrety. Then I was struck to see Aristocypha fenestrella. I saw a chlorocyphid for a first time and expected that creatures with so curious a built should demonstrate some curious behaviour. But these violet-black males just sat on branches or stones or flew for some distance, and quite allowed to photograph them. Then something resembling a corduliid flew fastly by me. I start to look for such things and soon see it again: this dragonfly flew in tree shade about a metre above rocky parts of the stream, with some stops in the air, and was fairly hard to be netted. Quite surprisingly, after a while I managed to capture a tandem. Keeping the pair in hand I start to realise that they were not corduliids but Zygonix (Z. iris malayana). I thought these creatures to be pertained only to serious waterfalls but later learned that in Indochina they are quite widespread. Lastly, I was amaised to see a very large dragonfly with wide orange wings which start to impetously and elegantly fly to and fro over quite a long section of the river at about 3 m high (for me it looked like a giant Sympetrum croceolum). I had no hope to get it but unexpectedly succeeded. It turned to be a very young female of Hydrobasileus croceus (and I recognised it), perhaps my best capture for this trip. Being in such a fantastic place I strongly realised that I was too late to return in time. I started to descend the valley by a very good path, accompanied with a plastic water pipe, but somehow lost it and walked over the stream rocky bed. As expected, I appeared right above the main waterfalls, and saw leisure wandering Thai tourists far beneath. Besides, I saw also many A. fenestrella and Z. iris right near me, quite in sunshine, which I did not see both in the evening and morning. I had to climb down through bamboo thickets beside the waterfall, brachiating as a gibbon (this was indeed the only possible way of moving there), and although the destination was so close, several times had to change the direction, lost my net handle, tore my trousers into many pieces, and was tired enormously. What I said myself was ‘not relax immediately when come to a good place!’, nevertheless when I came to the pool beneath the waterfall, I slid and fell upside down into it together with my bag, to moist the camera, tickets, passport etc. (fortunately, all this worked later), to a great surprise of the tourists. I made a lion-cloths from my shirt and bravely descend to our bungalow, found out that my friends had already checked out, and then themselves quite relaxed in the local small restaurant. They goggled at me, and Boris said that he sees absolutely a happy man.
In the afternoon we drove half way back to the west and arrived to the Khao-Chamo-Khao-Wong National Park (Rayong Province). It surprised us by a great number of officers at headquarters (many riding motorollers) in almost military form and mostly with quite gloomy faces (and this impression appeared wrong), so that it resembled rather headquarters of some military base. After accomodation, we made an excursion to the local pond, quite small, and with some water chestnut rosettes floating on the surface. At a bush there were a couple of perching males of C. marginipes, I noticed a male P. autumnalis, some blue Pseudagrion male, a male and female of T. aurora, and encountered a weak and uninterestingly looking libellulid female (in our country I would took it for some Sympetrum) which appeared to represent Neurothemis a. atalanta. Boris and Nikita saw a small libellulid with wing basal halves deeply black but failed to photographed it (and nothing to catch with). In twilight I visited the lower reaches of the stream (in front of the border of the zone restricted for night) and saw a lonely dragonfly flying above the valley and tree crowns, it could be either a small aeshnid, a macromiid, Zygonyx, or God knows what else
Early next (January 31) morning we depart, separately, for the waterfalls and came back to the noon, now in time. The valley looked more gloomy than the Krating Waterfalls as well as the headquarters: the river fell more gently and hence the forest bordered it more densely and it was partly overshaded. Besides, the weather was overcast and the sun only rarely appeared. Once in a short sunlight, in one of few small openings at the bank I saw a male A. fenestrella and a male T. aurora activated, while in a boulder shade met with a male of C. vittata, while Nikita photographed a young, still grey, male of this species. And that was all for dragonflies.
We departed from the Reserve and, making almost a loop from the main road, returned nearly to the same mountain range and made an excursion on the banks of the Khao-Chamao River just south of Khao-Chamao village. It was quite large and nearly stagnant, with some muddy pools on the technically disturbed ground at the bank. We hoped to see some gomphids but failed. Instead, we found quite a rich set of libellulids. Over the water there were males of C. servilia perching on protruding stems, and one male of Brachydiplax farinosa (identified later by the body pattern and the number of antenodals), O. sabina were startled from the grass, over a muddy pool we observed a male of D. trivialis, and there were a lot of young and some mature males of T. aurora, the former concentrated in grass at the bridge (where I also caught a female C. servilia). Several times we saw also a cautious individual of N. fluctuans. In a steep bushy part of the bank we observed P. autumnalis of both sexes, occupying bush and grass leaves hanging just above the water. As usually, we saw a blue male of some Pseudagrion. In the evening we returned to Pattaya. I made a walk to Muddy Pools in twilight and on the trunk of a large tree growing in a dozen of metres off the water I found two closely set large exuviae of Epophthalmia sp. about 1.5 m above the ground, which I identified by the mask split into several long teeth together with a general macromiid appearance (and this character I remembered from Belyshev’s ‘Dragonflies of Siberia’). No crepuscular activity of anything but some stragely shouting bird and stridulating crickets was observed.
On February 1st, I managed to visit the large lake in Bang Phra, Chon Buri Province. Perhaps all large flat lakes around the World look alike, so it was rather a boring place, which quite could be confused with some steppen lakes of West Siberia. There was a wide surrounding plain grown up with ‘plain grass and weeds’, where only scarce females of B. contaminata were met with. The very lake seemed to have strongly step back in the dry season: its banks were just mud with immense dead large snails and some patches of high grass and reed. After some useless wandering, I found some small valley of something like a dried out tributary, with a chain of tiny pools along, and went ‘upstream’. I saw several O. sabina perching and several P. flavescens flying. A male of P. congener occupied surroundings of a small pool and, although cautious, could be photographed since returned to the pool again and again. This time I also saw a small and pretty libellulid with a black body and black proximal halves of wings. I tried to photograph and missed it. Can Neurothemis tullia have the body black or Rhyothemis triangulare look black without noticeable iridescence?. I do not know. Quite apart from the lake, in shade of several trees I startled from a grass a male T. tillagra. And that was all.
Last day of our presence in Pattaya, February 2, in the morning I first visited the Forest Swamp. There were the same R. variegata, O. sabina, A. femina and C. auranticum but I also found two freshly emerged and still soft very interesting odonate females: a very stout coenagrionid which later, by its wing venation was identified by me as Onychargia atrocyana, and this appeared true (this is an arboreal species but the female was found in grass), and a large brownish libellulid with a bright white stripe on its thorax: Rhodothemis rufa. In the afternoon I revisited the Swamp and collected another fresh female O. atrocyana.
Between these short excursions, we undertook a long sea trip to another island in south-east, Ko-Khram (to be true, while floating there I would bet it was a peninsula but the map and the boatsman said it was an island). Although the sandy beaches were nearly the same, vegetation of this island differed greatly from that on Ko Lan, since most of the land was covered with a forest of huge spiny bamboo arranged in bunches many metres in diametre. Several large and deep holes were long ago dug out in this forest near the beach, and now they are ponds with steep slopes. The dragonfly fauna appeared to be rich and diverse. Certainly there were P. flavescens restlessly flying, but among them I also noticed a male of Tramaea sp. (larger, deep brownish-red with brown basal wingspots), which was impossible to catch, and startled from a grass a male T. tillagra. There were several bright-red males of C. servilia, shining purple male of T. aurora and many blackberry-violet ones of T. festiva and few B. contaminata. Some O. sabina and females of T. festiva were found perching on grass nearby. At one side of one of the ponds, there were three females of R. phyllis and one female of R. variegata (I did not see any male of this genus throughout the whole trip). They four occupied protruding branches of a dead bush at the water and were very cautious. When a human appeared on the bank, they started fluttering over a bushy bank, noticeably keeping together. The individuals of Rh. phyllis did it until the human disappear (once I was patient to wait for half an hour) but the female of Rh. variegata after a while invariably sat down on a perch, abandoning its companions. At the same bush perched also very cautious male of P. jorina. Of zygopterans, there were quite many common I. senegalensis (which looked larger and more bluish than on Ko Lan), and a story repeated when we with Nikita encountered different representatives of the same genus: I collected and photographed a female of Agriocnemis pygmaea while he photographed a female of another Agriocnemis, and judging from the the pattern and prothorax shape seen on the photograph, it was A. minima (no A. femina being observed). Besides, near one of the ponds found a male of some Ceriagion sp. Later it occurred that its appendages look like those of C. indochinense, but its abdomen was bright-red above and orange at sides
(see http://pisum/bionet.nsc.ru/kosterin/odonata/coenagrionidae/ceriagrion.htm, and also files ceriagrion2, ceriagrion3 and ceriagrion4 on the same site), not yellow, and the body size was larger. This specimen is now with Dr. Matti Hämäläinen. Closer to the evening I walked along some road uphill and saw a lot of P. congener (and nothing more) on its sides, few males and many females, a lot of which were perching on branches of spiny bamboo, for some reason obviously congregated to a certain section of the road. Leaving this island, I forgot the very net, so it and its handle turned to be sacrificed in different Thailand provinces, as a promise of return.
Early next morning we departed back to Bangkok and already in a queue for registration were informed that our flight is postponed for a day. The responsible Krasair company offered us to be accomodated in the a hotel in Bangkok downtown, so we were granted with a day in the capitol, which Nikita decided to devote the only purpose: to dig out the odonatological literature. We explored about five bookstores, in the first or second in a huge supermarket in the centre, we found the Thai book by Pisuth Ek-Amnuay, illustrated by photographs, that was already something. At last, in the University bookstore, they said us that they have the Atlas by Hämäläinen & Pinratana and also a reprint edition of collected papers by Syosiro Asahina on Thailand, undertaken by Bro. Pinratana, about existence of which I had no idea and which in fact helped me most. On this pathetic note our trip came to its end. One may see my photos of odonates done at my Internet site at: http://pisum.bionet.nsc.ru/kosterin/odonata/thailand.htm and the photos by both me and Nikita are submitted to ‘The Asian Dragonfly Home Page’ by Eric Gibert: http://www.asia-dragonfly.net/index.php.
So, we met with only 45 odonate species (a bit less than a total of 49 species occurring in the part of Novosibirsk Province east of the Ob’ River), of which there were no aeshnids, gomphids, corduliids, euphaeids, and macromiids were represented only by two identical exuvia. At the same time, since we visited rather unpopular areas (especially Rayong Province), we happened to record Aciagrion pallidum, Onychargya atrocyana, Epophthalmia sp., Pseudothemis jorina for the first time for Chon Buri Province, Aristocypha fenestrella, Prodasineura autumnalis, Brachydiplax farinosa, Brachythemis contaminata, Nerothemis intermedia atalanta, Trithemis aurora for Rayong Province, and Hydrobasileus croceus for Chantaburi Province. This followed from the distribution maps in the atlas by Hämäläinen & Pinratana (1999) and was approved personally by Matti Hämäläinen.
Nikita told me that now we have to revisit Thailand in the wet season. I guess we should met much more species, and less easily identifiable. This would more resemble a regular odonatological expedition to this country, more fruitful for our own knowledge but less lucky for new records, more difficult to assess and less ridiculous, so it would hardly deserve writing of analogous road notes as these.
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