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Dragonflies and DamselfliesModel Organisms for Ecological and Evolutionary Research$
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Alex Córdoba-Aguilar

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199230693

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199230693.001.0001

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Evolution, diversification, and mechanics of dragonfly wings

Evolution, diversification, and mechanics of dragonfly wings

(p.261) CHAPTER 20 Evolution, diversification, and mechanics of dragonfly wings
Dragonflies and Damselflies

Robin J. Wootton

David J.S. Newman

Oxford University Press

This chapter shows how the patterns of evolution and diversification of odonatoids, and by implication those of other flight-active taxa can be illuminated by studying their flight mechanics. The relationships between flight capabilities and wing and body design are discussed; and the functional significance of familiar wing characters and character states are investigated and compared in a range of extant and extinct odonates, using simple physical models. Convergence in wing shape and in some other characters is shown to be widespread, reflecting similarities in flight behaviour and performance in different taxa throughout the long history of the Superorder. Anagenesis — evolutionary ‘improvement’ — is also widely recognizable. Three important areas for future research are identified: detailed comparative investigations of flight performance; comparative morphometric analysis of functionally interpretable wing and body characters; and detailed Finite Element modelling of selected wing characters, rather than superficial analyses of complete wings.

Keywords:   evolution, diversification, flight mechanics, wing design, wing shape, convergence, anagenesis

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