Saturday, 4 October 2014

Decorated Tigertail

Animal of the Month


What's so special about it?

Decorated Tigertail; Photo by C. Y. Choong
Dragonflies are often thought of as the hawks of the insect world, and this is especially true for the Decorated Tigertail (Ictinogomphus decoratus). Its large size, bold nature, and speedy manoeuvrability spells quick death for any small invertebrate within its sights. And what sight! Tigertail eyes are perfectly sized and situated to allow a 360-degree view of the world, so that nothing escapes their notice! If by some lucky miracle you manage to sneak up on and capture one, be careful - dragonfly enthusiasts report that this species bites surprisingly hard when rough-handled!

Where can I see one?

Decorated Tigertails are one of the most common dragonflies in South-east Asia. They are abundant and widespread around the tropical lagoons, ponds and rivers of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and southern China.


Australian Tigertail

Is there anything similar near Brisbane?

Tigertails are found from Africa all the way through to Australia, where there are three species. Only one of them occurs in eastern Australia however, and it is called the Australian Tigertail (Ictinogomphus australis). It is very similar to its South-east Asian relative, but has larger yellow panels on its club tail. I have seen and admired the this lively and beautiful insect in locations such as Bulimba Creek in Brisbane, and Varsity Lakes on the Gold Coast.

Decorated Tigertail photo courtesy of the blog: Odonata of Peninsular Malaysia

12 comments:

  1. I learned something from you....I had no idea a dragonfly would bite! Very interesting. You got some great photos of them. I agree with you that it seems unfair to call our goldfinches "Lesser". They are just as golden to me, as well, as their eastern counterparts.

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    1. Thanks Marie! Only the second photo is my own, but I was happy to get that shot! The dragonfly only bites if you've captured it and are handling it carelessly - it won't swoop around attacking, so don't worry! :)

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  2. Wonderfully information post with great photographs. Have a great weekend.

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    1. Thanks Margaret, I hope you enjoy yours as well!

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  3. very interesting! and bites? wow!

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    1. Thanks Theresa! It is just a little nip if you've captured it and are rough-handling it, so don't worry! :)

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  4. I would never have expected it to bite!! I saw you found a group of glossies at Aroona. That must have been very exciting, and having only seen glossies at 3 locations I find every flock I find thrilling. I have great memories of a group of about 15 glossies coming down from casuarinas to a puddle beside my campsite to drink. :)

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    1. They're definitely a stunning bird - one of my new favourites! That campsite encounter sounds magical! I love when the bush offers up special moments like that.

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  5. They're amazing Christian. Much more exciting than ours but I guess the grass is always greener!

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    1. I've seen some stunning UK insect photographs, Em, so yes, the grass is always greener! :)

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  6. Great pictures and narrative. Dragonflies are truly enigmatic creatures.

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    1. Thanks David! Dragonflies do capture my interest, I must admit!

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