Wednesday, June 22, 2005

ENV: More hot Odonate days

Martin Reid, this time in company with Dr. John Abbott and Aaron Smith, continue to make rarified finds in the sweaty South Texas brush. This time, they became the fourth, fifth and sixth humans to ever see Leptobasis melinogaster alive, and Martin obtained the first ever photos in the wild -- and in the drainage basin of a pond at Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge in South Texas. This species was barely known to science from Mexico when Tom Langschied found a small group on the King Ranch last year -- now it pops up again on the border. And Martin et al. located several other bugs still considered rarities. Here's part of his post to the TexOdes listserv, rec'd today (be sure to check out the pics of Leptobasis, a very cool, cool bug):

Update: Jim Sinclair wrote TexOdes to correct that there were previous photos in the wild. While he didn't claim it in that post, i suspect the photos are his. If so, congrats to Jim as well, and to Dr. Abbott who has now posted pics on his Odonata Central (see Odonata links to the left).

. . . No sign of Anax concolor, Tramea abdominalis, or Microthyria didyma, but we are not complaining (again) . . . Yesterday in the late morning I found a male Leptobasis melinogaster at Willow Pond #1 - next to where the pump outlet pipe is located. We proceeded to see six males yesterday, with a further three sightings this morning, but no definite female (I briefly saw one with an orange abdomen-tip - young male?; female??). The first photos of the taxon in the wild are here:

Also seen there were a few Aeshna psilus, including this male and this female:

and at least two Coryphaeschna adnexa:

This afternoon I also found a male Gynacantha mexicana in the same
spot - but it twice flew just as my camera was coming up to my eye. I saw it
very well in profile with binoculars, seeing the two small dark anterior lateral
thoracic spots plus the posterior latero-ventral dark bar.

Yesterday afternoon we did some scouting around the Bensten/WBC vicinity,
and at one spot found three male Phyllocycla breviphylla:

Water levels are critical at San Ana; Willow Pond #1 has just been filled
to the brim, and the Entrance Pond has also just been filled (it had gone
completely dry by yesterday lunchtime.

Martin Reid
San Antonio, Texas


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