Homologization of the Flight Musculature of Zygoptera (Insecta: Odonata) and Neoptera (Insecta)

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Among the winged insects (Pterygota) the Dragonflies and Damselflies (Odonata) are unique for several reasons. Behaviourally they are aerial predators that hunt and catch their prey in flight, only. Morphologically the flight apparatus of Odonata is significantly different from what is found in the remaining Pterygota. However, to understand the phylogenetic relationships of winged insects and the origin and evolution of insect flight in general, it is essential to know how the elements of the odonatan flight apparatus relate to those of the other Pterygota. Here we present a comprehensive, comparative morphological investigation of the thoracic flight musculature of damselflies (Zygoptera). Based on our new data we propose a homologization scheme for the thoracic musculature throughout Pterygota. The new homology hypotheses will allow for future comparative work and especially for phylogenetic analyses using characters of the thoracic musculature throughout all winged insects. This will contribute to understand the early evolution of pterygote insects and their basal phylogenetic relationship.




Büsse, S., Genet, C., & Hörnschemeyer, T. (2013). Homologization of the Flight Musculature of Zygoptera (Insecta: Odonata) and Neoptera (Insecta). PLoS ONE, 8(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0055787

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