Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) as a bridge between ecology and evolutionary genomics

Seth Bybee, Alex Córdoba-Aguilar, Katie Duryea, Ryo Futahashi, Bengt Hansson, M. Olalla Lorenzo-Carballa, Ruud Schilder, Robby Stoks, Anton Suvorov, Erik I. Svensson, Janne Swaegers, Yuma Takahashi, Phillip C. Watts, Maren Wellenreuther

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) present an unparalleled insect model to integrate evolutionary genomics with ecology for the study of insect evolution. Key features of Odonata include their ancient phylogenetic position, extensive phenotypic and ecological diversity, several unique evolutionary innovations, ease of study in the wild and usefulness as bioindicators for freshwater ecosystems worldwide. In this review, we synthesize studies on the evolution, ecology and physiology of odonates, highlighting those areas where the integration of ecology with genomics would yield significant insights into the evolutionary processes that would not be gained easily by working on other animal groups. We argue that the unique features of this group combined with their complex life cycle, flight behaviour, diversity in ecological niches and their sensitivity to anthropogenic change make odonates a promising and fruitful taxon for genomics focused research. Future areas of research that deserve increased attention are also briefly outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Article number46
JournalFrontiers in Zoology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 10

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Evolutionary Biology

Free keywords

  • Ancient insects
  • Climate change
  • Complex life cycle
  • Ecological Genomics
  • Flight
  • Naiad
  • NGS
  • Polymorphism


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