Open questions in the evolution of openwing perching in the Zygoptera (Odonata): a comment on Dennis Paulson


In a recent paper D.R. Paulson (2004; IJO 7: 505-515) presented five hypotheses concerning the way wings are held in the Zygoptera during perching. A critical examination suggests that most of them have substantial flaws that prevent their testing. Based on Bechly’s phylogeny (1998; <>) I suggest that the wing perching mode in the Odonata has changed five or six times, depending on whether the ancestral situation in the Odonata was closed-wing or openwing perching, respectively. Combining parts of Paulson’s hypotheses into a more plastic cost-benefit framework is suggested as an alternative approach, such as the investigation of possible trade-offs between thermoregulatory and foraging benefits and costly predation risk.

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