Inflation by venation and the bankruptcy of traditional genera: the case of Neodythemis and Micromacromia, with keys to the continental African species and the description of two new Neodythemis species from the Albertine Rift (Odonata: Libellulidae)


The Afrotropical ‘neodythemistine’ genera are an example of venation-biased classification in Odonata. This example is used to argue the bankruptcy of some traditional classifications in the order, particularly in the Libellulidae, and the need to apply alternative characters to define genera. Two groups of Afrotropical ‘neodythemistines’ are identified by male and female genitalia, supported by colour patterns, and these correspond to the only two genera which we retain: Micromacromia and Neodythemis. A new classification is proposed on this basis: Eothemis and Monardithemis are synonyms of Micromacromia; E. zygoptera and M. flava are transferred to Micromacromia; Neodythemis scalarum is a synonym of M. zygoptera. Allorrhizucha and Mesumbethemis are synonyms of Neodythemis; A. campioni, A. klingi, A. preussi, M. takamandensis and Micromacromia afra are transferred to Neodythemis; N. africana and N. gorillae are synonyms of N. afra. A checklist of Afrotropical ‘neodythemistine’ species and a key to the continental species is provided. Two new Neodythemis species are described from the Albertine Rift; N. munyaga sp. nov. (holotype ♂: Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Buhoma, Munyaga Valley, alt. ca 1,600 m a.s.l., 17 v 2003) and N. nyungwe sp. nov. (holotype ♂: Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park, Karamba, alt. ca 1,500 m a.s.l., 28 × 1985).

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