Dragons fly, biologists classify: an overview of molecular odonate studies, and our evolutionary understanding of dragonfly and damselfly (Insecta: Odonata) behavior

Among insects, perhaps the most appreciated are those that are esthetically pleasing: few capture the interest of the public as much as vibrantly colored dragonflies and damselflies (Insecta: Odonata). These remarkable insects are also extensively studied. Here, we review the history of odonate systematics, with an emphasis on discrepancies among studies. Over the past century,…

Structure, function and evolution of the ‘glans’ of the anisopteran vesica spermalis (Odonata)

Comparative investigations of the distal part of the vesica spermalis (‘glans’) of the anisopteran male secondary copulatory apparatus reveal three different ‘solutions’ of combining the emptying-mechanism of the sperm-reservoir with a ‘washing out’ of sperm of the male predecessor. The responsible apparatus of the glans—actually driven by pressure-changes inside the erectile organ, which is a…

The evolution and frequency of female color morphs in Holarctic Odonata: why are male-like females typically the minority?

We compiled data on the occurrence and frequency of distinct female variants among Holarctic Odonata and interpreted the data in light of harassment-based hypotheses. The major source of male confusion for male mimicry hypotheses is predicted to be signal similarity between andromorphs and male distractors; for the learned mate recognition hypothesis (LMR), it is predicted…

Tandem grip mechanics and tandem linkage shifting in Odonata – reconstruction of evolution and phylogenetic significance

The functional morphology of the male caudal clasping apparatus of Zygoptera is compared to that of Epiophlebia superstes (Anisozygoptera) and Anisoptera. Hypotheses concerning the mechanics and muscle functions have been advanced by parallel construction of mechanical working models. The evolution of the clasping apparatus and the tandem linkage shifting – from the female pronotum to…

To harass or to respect: the economy of male persistence despite female refusal in a damselfly with scramble mate competition

In sexual conflict, males are often thought to gain fitness benefits from harassing females over mating. Yet when harassment itself incurs costs to males and if alternative, receptive females are available in a local population, theory predicts that when confronted with a female refusal, a male’s choice of persisting or retreating is determined in part by the likelihood of achieving a mating.

Forest edges and their effects on the arrival of dragonflies at north-temperate experimental ponds

The matrix, an environment in the landscape that individuals move through but do not reside in, can affect species dispersal and the arrival of individuals at habitat patches. Elements around this matrix that provide refuge or resources may shape the arrival of animals at habitat patches, even when those patches are equivalent in quality. Adult dragonflies (Odonata: Anisoptera) frequently use open terrestrial environments during movement and dispersal in north-temperate regions…

The subfamily Platycnemidinae (Zygoptera: Platycnemididae) in Thailand, with description of the final stadium larva of Copera chantaburii Asahina, 1984

Within the damselfly subfamily Platycnemidinae, eight species are currently recognized in South-East Asia. The final stadium larvae of only three of them have been so far described. The final stadium larva of Copera chantaburii is described and illustrated for the first time, based on reared specimens, and new provincial records both of larvae and adults…

Establishment of larval pits by Tachopteryx thoreyi (Odonata: Petaluridae): habitat modification by a non-burrowing petalurid

Tachopteryx thoreyi is one of only two species of petalurid dragonflies with a non-fossorial larval stage. In the context of questions related to the phylogenetics, historical biogeography and current distribution of the Petaluridae, the evolution of a burrowing larval stage in petalurids, which is unique in the Odonata, is of considerable interest. This paper reports…