Molecular phylogenetics and biology of dragonflies and damselflies.

Monday, October 15, 2018 - 4:10pm to 5:00pm
Event Type: 

Dr. Jessica Ware, Rutgers University, Department of Biological Sciences

Co-sponsored by EEB / EEOB

Abstract. Odonata is a relatively small order (~6000 species) with remarkable natural history characteristics: dragonflies and damselflies are colourful, voracious predators, ubiquitous at freshwater sources. Anisoptera, i.e., dragonflies, comprises 9 families, but the inter- and intrafamilial relationships among taxa have been largely unresolved. I will discuss the evolutionary history of dragonflies, based on recent molecular and morphological data, with an emphasis on how resolved relationships affect our interpretations of odonate reproductive, dispersal and larval behaviours. Recently work resolving the internal relationships of several families has prompted taxonomic revisions to the Gomphidae, and Libelluloidea, the two most speciose groups of dragonflies. Past taxonomic uncertainty in Anisoptera may have been driven by a reliance on wing venation in morphological systematics. Wing venation is prone to convergence due to flight behaviour constraints in Odonata, however, and several proposed taxonomic groups have been found to be non-monophyletic. Wing vein patterns are discussed with respect to flight behaviour and their use for taxonomic identification with automatic species identification software