Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Platycnemididae - Coeliccia kumurai

Platycnemididae - Coeliccia kimurai Asahina, 1990

On 7 May 2007 I was at Sg. Beringin in Gunung Angsi Forest Reserve, Negeri Sembilan for Odonata sampling. The part of the stream that I did my sampling is rocky with close vegatation (see the habitat picture below). I spotted a few Drepanosticta fontinalis there. However, I was surprised to caught two male specimens of Coeliccia.

At close look in the field, these specimens (see photos below) resemble Coeliccia erici - a pair of broad dot marking on synthorax and the presence of blue marking at segments 9-10 of abdomen. I was excited on the catch because it was my first catch on C. erici. Therefore, I went in the micro habitat to further look for erici. However, I was in vain, and I had to be happy with only two male specimens before leaving the sampling site. Nevertheless, I was taken aback when I investigated the specimens closely after coming back from the sampling. The specimens do not look exactly like erici as the anal appendages of the specimens are different from that of erici! The shape of superior anal appendages is different from erici, and the length of superior anal appendages is longer than the inferior ones (reverse in erici). So, it is not erici. What is it then? There are only four Coeliccia species recorded in Peninsular Malaysia. None of them match well the specimens.

I contacted Bert (Dr. A.G. Orr) to sort out this mistery. Bert told me that none of the Bornean Coeliccia species match the specimens collected from Gunung Angsi Forest Reserve! Dr. Rory Dow was contacted by Bert to sort out the mistery as well. Rory is actually working on Coeliccia. Therefore, he shows great interest in the specimens. Both Bert and Rory thought that this could be a new species. However, after two weeks of intensive search, Rory came back with the news that this is actually C. kimurai which was described by Dr. Syoziro Asahina hiden somewhere in his book "A List of the Odonata from Thailand" published in 1990 . Asahina (1990) mentioned that Y. Kimura collected two specimens (one male and one female) from Yala Province of Thailand (southern part of Peninsular Thailand) in 1988 which happened to be a new species. Asahina honoured the new species after Kimura.

So, my catch of kimurai is in fact exciting on two counts. The second location of the species is far down into Peninsular Malaysia, which may indicate that the species is wide spread but extremely rare because only four specimens (two in Thailand and two in Malaysia) have been collected so far. My catch on kimurai in Gunung Angsi Forest Reserve would be the first encounter of the species after 20 years of its first appearence! The presence of kimurai in Negeri Sembilan is in fact a new record for Malaysia.