vietnam 2020

offering tours aimed specifically at finding and photographing dragonflies and damselflies around the world

© Tom Kompier

© Tom Kompier

© Tom Kompier

© Tom Kompier

© Tom Kompier

© Tom Kompier

© Tom Kompier

© Tom Kompier

© Tom Kompier

The 2020 South Vietnam tour

Dates: 16th to 31st May 2020 (16 days).

Leaders: Tom Kompier and Phil Benstead


Group size: 8-12 (plus two leaders)


The plan

Our first day in country sees us flying into to Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) and flying on to the tropical island of Phu Quoc. Our four-night stay here will allow us to explore the island and get to grips with a fascinating odofauna. Nationally the island is very interesting holding a number of southern tropical species that many of us will be familiar with but it also lies on the periphery of the, mostly Cambodian, Cardamom ecoregion and consequently hosts two recently-described damsels; Euphaea cyanopogon and Amphicnemis valentini. Additionally the island is the only known station in the country for Coeliccia kazukoae and Rhinagrion viridatum. Rarities we will be chasing include Podolestes coomansi and Lyriothemis mortoni. Swampy forest here will yield some attractive but far more widespread species including Brachygonia oculata, Orchithemis pulcherrima and Rhyothemis aterrima.

 

After what will doubtless have been an explosive start to the tour we head back to HCMC and transfer to Cat Tien National Park, home to odo-wizard James Holden, for another four-night stay. The forest here, despite defoliant damage dating from the American War, is home to over 100 species of odonate but we will of course only see a proportion of these. High on our target list though will be the recently-described Gynacantha cattienensis, only known from the park to date and an undescribed Lyriothemis which is apparently rather scarce but which is close to elegantissima. Other species for which this is the only known station in Vietnam include Gynacantha demeter and Microgomphus chelifer. Damselflies are excellent here too and special effort will be made to find Dysphaea gloriosa, Orolestes octomaculatus (the southern counterpart of Orolestes selysi of the north), Archibasis oscillans (a rarely encountered and enigmatic species) and Coeliccia rolandorum (the recently described eastern counterpart of Coeliccae kazukoae).

 

After three full days at Cat Tien we will depart for nearby Bao Loc for another four-night stay in this fascinating area. This has all the hallmarks of a region that has received the full Kompier-treatment, with a rash of recently-described, and invariably endemic, species that will of course be the focus of our efforts here. Tom reports that he once saw over 90 species in a day here without trying...

 

The damselfly fauna at Bao Loc is exceptional. Fans of Euphaea will delight in the recently-described sanguinea and the local endemic hirta is present too. Lestid afficionados will hope to find the scarce Lestes dorothea and the little-known and very desirable Platylestes platystylus. The recently-described regionally endemic Onychargia priydak will also be welcome. Regionally endemic Coeliccia are also on the cards with two undescribed species present as well as mattii (named for the great Hamalainen) and the rather atypical suoitia, all are sure to thrill. Protoneurids here include the rare Prodasineura doisuthepensis and the recently-described endemic Prodasineura hoffmanni. Other endemic damselfly highlights found here include Protosticta proboscis (another recently-described species), Devadatta cyanocephala and Rhinocypha watsoni.

 

Regional endemism is of course not just limited to damselflies. The gomphid fauna of Bao Loc includes Asiagomphus reinhardti (recently described), Euthygomphus schorri, Leptogomphus baolocensis, Heliogomphus chaoi, Stylogomphus delicatus (recently described) and Microgomphus yurzitzai. Additionally two exciting southern gomphids occur here; Lamelligomphus castor and Ophiogomphus minimus. Other species at Bao Loc include the superb and highly sought-after Chlorogomphus caloptera, as well as Macromia cupricincta, Macromia flavocolorata, Hemicordulia edai and Macromidia genialis.

 

Dragging ourselves away from Bao Loc we will work habitat along the road to Gia Nghia before turning towards Da Lat for a two-night stay. We have two days here and there is a nice selection of species to chase to keep us very busy in the closing stage of the tour. Exciting regional endemics here include Rhinocypha seducta, Euphaea hirta and the recently-described Asiagomphus kosterini. Other interesting species include Aciagrion approximans, the rare

Sarasaeschna minuta and the enigmatic Hemicordulia tenera. In the afternoon of the second day we fly to HCMC for an overnight stay before flying back home the next day. There may be a chance of some sightseeing if you have an evening return flight.



Cost

Tour price is £3000 (deposit £300), single supplement is a whopping £555, sorry.... Tribal discounts are unlikely on this one but you never know.


Accommodation

Variable from very comfortable boutique-style in Ho Chi Minh to more rough-and-ready accommodation on Phu Quoc.


Flights

You need to be in the airport in Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) on the morning of 16th May for an afternoon connection to Phu Quoc. You can leave anytime during 31st May or beyond if you want to see a bit of Saigon whilst you are there.


Get in touch below to register your interest and arrange payment of the deposit.


© Tom Kompier

© Tom Kompier

© Tom Kompier

© Tom Kompier

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