Tag Archives: Dragonflies

Pacificagrion dolorosa Fraser

Sorrowful Damselfly (Pacificagrion dolorosa)

The Sorrowful Damselfly was described in the year 1953 on the basis of a male, that had been collected on the island of ‘Upolu, Samoa.

The species is almost unknown.

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The Sorrowful Damselfly was not found during recent field studies, however, the exatct locality appears to be only insufficiently known. [2]

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There obviously is at least one other, not yet described species on the island of Tutuila. [1][2]

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References:

[1] Milen Marinov; Warren Chin; Eric Edwards; Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: A revised and updated Odonata checklist of Samoa (Insecta: Odonata). Faunistic Studies in South-East Asian and Pacific Island Odonata 5: 1-21. 2013
[2] Milen Marinov; Mark Schmaedick; Dan Polhemus; Rebecca L. Stirnemann; Fialelei Enoka; Pulemagafa Siaifoi Fa’aumu; Moeumu Uili: Faunistic and taxonomic investigations on the Odonata fauna of the Samoan archipelago with particular focus on taxonomic ambiguities in the “Ischnurine complex”. Journal of the International Dragonfly Fund 91: 1-56. 2015

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Photo: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

(under creative commons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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edited: 23.08.2017

Xanthagrion erythroneurum Sélys

Red and Blue Damsel (Xanthagrion erythroneurum)

The Red and Blue Damsel is (as far as known) the only species in its genus.

It is distributed mainly in Australia including Tasmania, but occurs also on New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands as well as on Fiji, where it seems to be quite rare, however. The species is said to occur in New Zealand as well, but I could not find any source yet to confirm this.

The Red and Blue Damsel is about 3 cm long, the sexes in this species are more or less identical in their colouration.

The ovoposition obviously takes place in standing water (?).

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Photo: Sandra Wallace; by courtesy of Sandra Wallace

http://www.flickr.com/photos/20973373@N08

Antipodochlora braueri Selys

Dusk Dragonfly (Antipodochlora braueri)

The Dusk Dragonfly was described in the year 1871, it is the sole member of its genus.

The species is endemic to New Zealand, both the larvae as well as the adult individuals are specialized forest dwellers, being widely distributed in various types of native forest.

The peak activity occurs in the few hours before dusk (hence its trivial name), at higher elevations, however, the species is active over a longer period of the day. [1]

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References:

[1] W. J. Winstanley: A preliminary account of the habitat of Antipodochlora braueri (Odonata: Corduliidae) in New Zealand. New Zealand Entomologist 7(2): 141-148. 1980

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Photo: Dr. Milen Marinov; by courtesy of Dr. Milen Marinov

Austrolestes colensonis White

New Zealand Blue Damselfly (Austrolestes colensonis)

The New Zealand Blue Damselfly, known by the Maori as kekewai, is a common species of small ditches, ponds, and swamps, its larvae are able to inhabit even shallow and temporary water bodies.

The species is capable of changing its coloration to aid thermoregulation, so it turns darker in cold weather and lighter in sunshine. [1]

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References:

[1] W. Joy Crumpton: Notes on occurrence of Odonata in Canterbury and Westland (New Zealand). The New Zealand Entomologist 6(3): 302-304. 1977

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Photo: Dr. Milen Marinov; by courtesy of Dr. Milen Marinov

Ischnura haemastigma Fraser

Bloodstain Forktail (Ischnura haemastigma)

This species was described in the year 1927 on the basis of a single male specimen, which was collected in the center of the island of ‘Upolu, at an elevation of about 610 m.

The head is mainly bright lemon yellow colored. The thorax is also lemon yellow colored and marked with black, the abdomen is dirty black in color, the last three segments are marked with blue. The legs are bright blood red in color.

The Bloodstain Forktail reaches a wingspan of about 3 cm, the wings are transparent, the pterostigma (wing mark) of the forewings is nearly square-shaped and crimson in color.

The first female specimen of this species were described in the year 1953. [1][2]

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The status of the Bloodstain Forktail, like those of almost all endemic Samoan Dragonflies, is completely unknown, it was not recorded during recent field surveys and may in fact be extinct. [3]

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References:

[1] F. C. Fraser: Further notes on Samoan Odonata belonging to the ischnurine complex of species, with descriptions of two new species and some unknown females. Proceedings Royal Entomological Society London. Series B 22(7/8): 119-126. 1953
[2] M. Marinov; W. Chin; E. Edwards; B. Patrick; H. Patrick: A revised and updated Odonata checklist of Samoa (Insecta: Odonata). Faunistic Studies in South-East Asian and Pacific Island Odonata 5: 1-21. 2013
[3] Milen Marinov; Mark Schmaedick; Dan Polhemus; Rebecca L. Stirnemann; Fialelei Enoka; Pulemagafa Siaifoi Fa’aumu; Moeumu Uili: Faunistic and taxonomic investigations on the Odonata fauna of the Samoan archipelago with particular focus on taxonomic ambiguities in the “Ischnurine complex”. Journal of the International Dragonfly Fund 91: 1-56. 2015

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Photo: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

(under creative commons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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edited: 28.06.2017

Lathrecista asiatica (Fabricius)

Scarlet Grenadier (Lathrecista asiatica)

The Scarlet Grenadier, also known as Asiatic Blood Tail, is easily recognizable by its bright red abdomen.

The species is very widespread, occurring from Asia and Australia to western Polynesia, where it is known from Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga.

It breeds in ponds, marshes, swamp forests and shallow forest pools.

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The Scarlet Grenadier is the sole member of its monotypic genus. The species is split into several subspecies, of which the nominate race is known to occur within the Polynesian region. The Samoan specimens, however, appear to be somewhat smaller than the nominate race, thus may represent a distinct subspecies. [1]

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References:

[1] Milen Marinov; Mark Schmaedick; Dan Polhemus; Rebecca L. Stirnemann; Fialelei Enoka; Pulemagafa Siaifoi Fa’aumu; Moeumu Uili: Faunistic and taxonomic investigations on the Odonata fauna of the Samoan archipelago with particular focus on taxonomic ambiguities in the “Ischnurine complex”. Journal of the International Dragonfly Fund 91: 1-56. 2015

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Photo: André van Velsen; by courtesy of André van Velsen

Megalagrion blackburni McLachlan

Blackburn’s Hawaiian Damselfly (Megalagrion blackburni)

This species reaches a body length of slightly more than 6 cm and is thus the largest member of its family on the Hawaiian Islands.

The larvae of this species develop, like most other dragonfly species, in freshwater, the larvae of other members of this genus, which contains at least 30 species, however, sometimes live terrestrial (on ground) or arboreal (in trees). [1]

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The adults of several species in this genus show the quite unusual behavior of feigning death when caught (see photograph). [2]

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References:

[1] Elwood C. Zimmerman: Insects of Hawaii 2; Apterygota to Thysanoptera. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1948
[2] Francis G. Howarth; William P. Mull: Hawaiian Insects and Their Kin. University of Hawaii Press 1992

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Photo: Kim Starr & Forest Starr; by courtesy of Kim Starr & Forest Starr

http://www.starrenvironmental.com

Nesobasis angulicollis Tillyard

Angular-necked Fiji Damselfly (Nesobasis angulicollis)

This species was described in the year 1924.

The Angular-necked Fiji Damselfly species is obviously endemic to the island of Viti Levu, where it can be found at sunny places around medium-sized streams in the highlands, but also at lower elevations.

The sides of the thorax are almost entirely blue colored, males and females are similar in coloration, the females, however, are somewhat paler.

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The name Nesobasis subhumeralis Tillyard is a synonym of this species.

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The genus Nesobasis is endemic to the Fijian Islands, there are at least 11 additional species on the Fijian Islands, that still await their description, among them 10 on the island of Vanua Levu alone.

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References:

[1] T. W. Donnelly: The Fijian genus Nesobasis. Part 1: species of Viti Levu, Ovalau, and Kadavu (Odonata: Coenagrionidae). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 17: 87-117. 1990
[2] H. Van Gossum; C. Beatty; T. Sherratt: The Zygoptera of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, the two larger islands in the Fiji archipelago. IDF-Report 9: 1-14. 2006
[3] Neal L. Evenhuis; Dan A. Polhemus: Checklist of Odonata of Fiji. Bishop Museum Technical Report 38(15): 1-3. 2007
[4] C. D. Beatty; H. Van Gossum; T. N. Sherratt: Nesobasis species diversity and abundance: Notes on an endemic genus of the island group of Fiji (Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae). Odonatologica 36(1): 13-26. 2007

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Photo: Hans Van Gossum; by courtesy of Hans Van Gossum

Hypothemis hageni Karsch

Hagen’s Skimmer (Hypothemis hageni)

This species was described in 1889, it is endemic to the Fijian Islands, where it is known only from Vanua Levu and Viti Levu.

The females lay their eggs near boulders into floating water with a strong current.

The species appears to be very shy, it perches only for few seconds, and then flies off again.

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The genus Hypothemis is monotypic, that means it contains only a single species.

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hypothemis-hageni-dmm

Photo: Dr. Milen Marinov; by courtesy of Dr. Milen Marinov

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edited: 27.02.2017

Agriocnemis interrupta Fraser

Samoan Narrow-winged Damselfly (Agriocnemis interrupta)

The Samoan Narrow-winged Damselfly was described in the year 1927 on the basis of a single specimen, which was found to be slightly larger than the Narrow-winged Damselfly (Agriocnemis exsudans (Sélys)).

The two do not differ in any other way, and are thus believed to represent a single taxon, which, however, has yet to be validated. [1]

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References:

[1] Milen Marinov; Mark Schmaedick; Dan Polhemus; Rebecca L. Stirnemann; Fialelei Enoka; Pulemagafa Siaifoi Fa’aumu; Moeumu Uili: Faunistic and taxonomic investigations on the Odonata fauna of the Samoan archipelago with particular focus on taxonomic ambiguities in the “Ischnurine complex”. Journal of the International Dragonfly Fund 91: 1-56. 2015

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Photo: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

(under creative commons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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edited: 28.06.2017

Adversaeschna brevistyla (Rambur)

Blue-spotted Hawker (Adversaeschna brevistyla)

The Blue-spotted Hawker was described in the year 1842, it is the only member of its genus.

The species is widespread across Australia, New Zealand and the Norfolk Islands, here it prefers relatively large lakes and other standing water with tall bankside vegetation, but is often found far from water.

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adversaeschna-brevistyla-nzn

Depiction from: ‘G. V. Hudson: New Zealand Neuroptera: A popular Introduction to the Life Histories and Habits of May Flies, Dragon Flies, Caddis Flies and allied Insects inhabiting New Zealand, including Notes on their relation to Angling. London: West, Newman & Co. 1904′

http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org

Ischnura jeanyvesmeyeri Englund & Polhemus

Raivavae Forktail (Ischnura jeanyvesmeyeri)

This species was described in the year 2010.

The species reaches a body size of about 4,2 cm, the wingspan is about 4,4 cm.

Despite the fact that virtually all streams on the island of Raivavae are diverted for agricultural uses to some extent, the Raivavae Forktail is still quite common at a wide range of elevations, it is, however, restricted to heavily vegetated areas along shaded stream reaches and avoids the adjoining large lowland taro fields, which again are preferred by the widespread Aurora Bluetail (Ischnura aurora Brauer).

The streams on the island of Raivavae are almost always small brooks, less than 1 m wide and only 5 to 15 cm deep, these streams are often lined with thickets of anue (Dicranopteris linearis (Burm. f.) Underw.), with a bed substrate consisting mainly of bare rock, but with abundant root mats and mats of aquatic algae.

The females are known to oviposit in such algae- or root mats.

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References:

[1] R. Englund; D. A. Polhemus: A review of the damselfly fauna of the Austral Islands, French Polynesia, with descriptions of two new species (Odonata: Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae). Tijdschrift voor Entomologie 153(1): 25-40. 2010

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ischnura-jeanyvesmeyeri-rae

Photo: Dr. Ron A. Englund; by courtesy of Dr. Ron A. Englund

Agriocnemis exsudans Sélys

Narrow-winged Damselfly (Agriocnemis exsudans)

The genus Agriocnemis comprises about 40 species, two of which occur within the Polynesian region.

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The Narrow-winged Damselfly shows a wide distribution, which stretches from Australia across Melanesia up to Polynesia, were it is found on the Norfolk Islands, in Fiji, Samoa, and Tonga, and on the Cook Islands. [1][2][3][4]

The species reaches a body length of about 3 cm.

The species mainly inhabits standing waters, but it can also be found at very slow flowing stream sections.

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The name Agriocnemis vitiensis Tillyard is a synonym for this species.

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References:

[1] N. Mary; A. Dutartre; P. Keith; G. Marquet; P. Sasal: Biodiversité des Eaux Douces de Wallis et Futuna; Mission d’Octobre 2004. Rapport Final, Ministère de l’Outre-Mer 2006
[2] C. Morrison; S. Nawadra; M. Tuiwawa: A rapid biodiversity assessment of the Nakorotubu Range, Ra and Tailevu Provinces, Fiji. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 59. Conservation International, Arlington, VA, USA 2009
[3] Milen Marinov: Contribution to the Odonata of the Kingdom of Tonga. Faunistic Studies in South-East Asia and Pacific Island Odonata 1: 1-18. 2013
[4] Milen Marinov; Mark Schmaedick; Dan Polhemus; Rebecca L. Stirnemann; Fialelei Enoka; Pulemagafa Siaifoi Fa’aumu; Moeumu Uili: Faunistic and taxonomic investigations on the Odonata fauna of the Samoan archipelago with particular focus on taxonomic ambiguities in the “Ischnurine complex”. Journal of the International Dragonfly Fund 91: 1-56. 2015

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agriocnemis-exsudans-dmm

Photo: Dr. Milen Marinov; by courtesy of Dr. Milen Marinov

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edited 03.03.2017

Rhyothemis regia (Brauer)

Pacific King Flutterer (Rhyothemis regia)

This beautifully colored dragonfly species is split into at least five subspecies, which are native to the Indo-Australian region.

The Polynesian region itself is inhabited by the subspecies Rhyothemis regia ssp. chalcoptilon Brauer, which is known so far to occur in Fiji, in Samoa, in Tonga, as well as in Wallis and Futuna. [1][2]

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References:

[1] N. Mary; A. Dutartre; P. Keith; G. Marquet; P. Sasal: Biodiversité des Eaux Douces de Wallis et Futuna; Mission d’Octobre 2004. Rapport Final, Ministère de l’Outre-Mer 2006
[2] Milen Marinov; Mark Schmaedick; Dan Polhemus; Rebecca L. Stirnemann; Fialelei Enoka; Pulemagafa Siaifoi Fa’aumu; Moeumu Uili: Faunistic and taxonomic investigations on the Odonata fauna of the Samoan archipelago with particular focus on taxonomic ambiguities in the “Ischnurine complex”. Journal of the International Dragonfly Fund 91: 1-56. 2015

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rhyothemis-r-chalcoptilon-sh

Photo: S. Hashizume, 2008

http://jocv183199.web.fc2.com

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edited: 14.02.2016

Ischnura chromostigma Fraser

Color Spot Forktail (Ischnura chromostigma)

This species was described in the year 1927 on the basis of four males and five females that all had been collected on the island of Tutuila.

The species reaches a wingspan of about 4 cm.

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The Color Spot Forktail may be most closely related to Armstrong’s Slender Damselfly (Amorphostigma armstrongi Fraser), and thus doesn’t belong into the genus Ischnura. [2]

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References:

[1] Milen Marinov; Warren Chin; Eric Edwards; Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: A revised and updated Odonata checklist of Samoa (Insecta: Odonata). Faunistic Studies in South-East Asian and Pacific Island Odonata 5: 1-21. 2013
[2] Milen Marinov; Mark Schmaedick; Dan Polhemus; Rebecca L. Stirnemann; Fialelei Enoka; Pulemagafa Siaifoi Fa’aumu; Moeumu Uili: Faunistic and taxonomic investigations on the Odonata fauna of the Samoan archipelago with particular focus on taxonomic ambiguities in the “Ischnurine complex”. Journal of the International Dragonfly Fund 91: 1-56. 2015

Nesobasis brachycerca Tillyard

Short-tailed Fiji Damselfly (Nesobasis brachycerca)

This species was described in the year 1924.

The Short-tailed Fiji Damselfly is restricted to the island of Vanua Levu.

The males and females are mostly identical in coloration, but some females differ in their coloration – it is not known if this represents age-related color changes or color polymorphism, as it can be found in several dragonfly species.

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References:

[1] H. Van Gossum; C. Beatty; T. Sherratt: The Zygoptera of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, the two larger islands in the Fiji archipelago. IDF-Report 9: 1-14. 2006
[2] Neal L. Evenhuis; Dan A. Polhemus: Checklist of Odonata of Fiji. Bishop Museum Technical Report 38(15): 1-3. 2007
[3] C. D. Beatty; H. Van Gossum; T. N. Sherratt: Nesobasis species diversity and abundance: Notes on an endemic genus of the island group of Fiji (Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae). Odonatologica 36(1): 13-26. 2007
[4] H. Van Gossum; C. D. Beatty; M. Tokota’a; T. N. Sherratt: The Fijian Nesobasis: a further examination of species diversity and abundance (Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae). Odonatologica 37(3): 235-245. 2008

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nesobasis-brachycerca-hvg

Photo: Hans Van Gossum; by courtesy of Hans Van Gossum

Gynacantha stevensoni Fraser

Stevenson’s Duskhawker (Gynacantha stevensoni)

Stevenson’s Duskhawker is known only from the type specimen, a male that was collected in the year 1925 on the island of Tongatapu in Tonga.

The type locality is sometimes erroneously given as Samoa (for example in the IUCN ‘Red List’), but the species probably occurs on the Fijian Islands (The ‘Smithsonian Institution’ lists at least two specimens of this species from Viti Levu / Fiji.).

The biology of this species is unknown so far.

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The insect fauna of the Tongan Islands has been insufficiently studied so far, and the status of many species is completely unknown.

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gynacantha-stevensoni-tnhm

Photo: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

(under creative commons license (4.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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edited: 23.02.2017

Ischnura aurora Brauer

Aurora Bluetail (Ischnura aurora)

The genus Ischnura is distributed nearly worldwide, within the Polynesian region it contains 13 described species, plus at least an additional ten hitherto undescribed species, which are known to await their description alone on the Society Islands.

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The Aurora Bluetail is a wandering species, which occurs from India well into East Polynesia.

It is a smaller damselfly species, which reaches a wingspan of about 3 cm. The males are very colorful (see photograph), while the females are rather plain light brown in color.

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The enigmatic Spinytail Forktail (Ischnura spinicauda (Brauer)), described in the year 1865 as a distinct species, is now known to be identical with the Aurora Bluetail. [7]

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References:

[1] M. A. Lieftinck: Some Odonata of Rapa Island, with descriptions of three Polynesian species of Ischnura Charpentier. Tijdschrift voor Entomologie 109: 89-102. 1966
[2] Karin S. Kami; Scott E. Miller: Samoan Insects and related Arthropods: Checklist and Bibliography. Bishop Museum Technical Report 13. 1998
[3] N. Mary; A. Dutartre; P. Keith; G. Marquet; P. Sasal: Biodiversité des Eaux Douces de Wallis et Futuna; Mission d’Octobre 2004. Rapport Final, Ministère de l’Outre-Mer 2006
[4] R. Englund; D. A. Polhemus: A review of the damselfly fauna of the Austral Islands, French Polynesia, with descriptions of two new species (Odonata: Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae). Tijdschrift voor Entomologie 153(1): 25-40. 2010
[5] R. J. Rowe: Ischnura aurora (Brauer 1865) (Zygoptera: Coenagrionidae), an Australo-Pacific species. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 37(2): 189-192. 2010
[6] S. A. Hathaway; K. McEachern; R. N. Fisher: Terrestrial Forest Management Plan for Palmyra Atoll: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1007, 78 p. 2011
[7] Milen Marinov; Warren Chin; Eric Edwards; Brian Patrick; Hamish Patrick: A revised and updated Odonata checklist of Samoa (Insecta: Odonata). Faunistic Studies in South-East Asian and Pacific Island Odonata 5: 1-21. 2013
[8] Milen Marinov; Odile Fossati-Gaschignard; Martin Schorr: On a dragonfly collection from Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands and Paea, Tahiti (French Polynesia) with taxonomic discussion of some Polynesian genera (Insecta: Odonata). Faunistic Studies in South-east Asian and Pacific Island Odonata 18: 1-12. 2016

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ischnura-aurora-df

Photo: Dennis Farrell; by courtesy of Dennis Farrell

http://thaiodonata.blogspot.com

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edited: 18.01.2017

Melanesobasis mcleani Donnelly

McLean’s Slender Damselfly (Melanesobasis mcleani)

This exceedingly beautiful species was described in the year 1984.

McLean’s Slender Damselfly is endemic to the island of Viti Levu, where it is found in shady parts of small streams.

The Thorax is dark bluish violet in colour, the very long and slender abdomen is very dark blackish blue coloured, the head is dark blackish blue, with the big round eyes being of a sky blue colour. The legs are flesh-coloured.

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References:

[1] H. Van Gossum; C. Beatty; T. Sherratt: The Zygoptera of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, the two larger islands in the Fiji archipelago. IDF-Report 9: 1-14. 2006
[2] C. Morrison; S. Nawadra; M. Tuiwawa (ed.): Arapid biodiversity assessment of the Nakorotabu Range, Ra and Tailevu Provinces, Fiji. RAP Bulletin of Biological Assessment 59. Conservation International, Arlington, VA, USA. 2009

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melanesobasis-mcleani-dmm

Photo: Dr. Milen Marinov; by courtesy of Dr. Milen Marinov