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, relationships among Odonata have been reinterpreted many times, using a variety of data from wing vein morphology to DNA. Despite years of study, there has been little consensus about odonate taxonomy. In this review, we compare odonate molecular phylogenetic studies with respect to gene and model selection, optimality criterion, and dataset completeness. These differences are discussed in relation to the evolution of dragonfly behavior.

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