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Author Topic:   A Small Dragonfly Is Found to Be the World's Longest-Distance Flyer
Posts: 1681
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 2.7

Message 1 of 2 (779283)
03-02-2016 4:28 PM

A good friend of mine worked on this project. A Small Dragonfly Is Found to Be the World's Longest-Distance Flyer

Pantala flavescens can be found around the world from the tropics to mid-temperate zones. It is even seen on islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. They often breed in temporary pools and their nymphs go through rapid development from egg to adult.

They do not over-winter at the northern and southern extremes of their range. Rather, they migrate north and south and breed during the warm seasons and disperse as soon as they emerge as adults.

Their sister species, Pantala hymenaea, also is a widely dispersed species, but to a lesser extent than P. flavescens.

The paper can be found here: A Global Population Genetic Study of Pantala flavescens

These dragonflies have some interesting adaptations to a life spent almost entirely on the wing. Their wings are larger in surface area than most dragonflies of similar length and body weight. They use this to their advantage by gliding on the wind for long distances rather than expending more energy flapping the wings.

The thorax is enlarged to contain more well-developed flight muscles. The legs are very thin and spindly compared to dragonflies that perch a lot. The abdomen is reduced in size. The eyes make up more of the surface area of the head than many other dragonflies. This would aid in flying in the dark and also with capturing prey and spotting mates at breeding sites. Territorial behavior is not seen at breeding sites and mating behavior is not seen when groups of males and females are away from breeding sites.

Sometimes large groups of Pantala will be seen in feeding swarms and in migratory flights.

What if Eleanor Roosevelt had wings? -- Monty Python

One important characteristic of a theory is that is has survived repeated attempts to falsify it. Contrary to your understanding, all available evidence confirms it. --Subbie

If evolution is shown to be false, it will be at the hands of things that are true, not made up. --percy

Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Tanypteryx, posted 03-02-2016 6:02 PM Tanypteryx has not yet responded

Posts: 1681
From: Oregon, USA
Joined: 08-27-2006
Member Rating: 2.7

Message 2 of 2 (779289)
03-02-2016 6:02 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Tanypteryx
03-02-2016 4:28 PM

More publicity
Since I posted this 1.5 hours ago I have run across news articles from around the world about the paper.

Not many grad students get this kind of notoriety from their thesis. Maybe he will continue to study dragonflies in his career.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Tanypteryx, posted 03-02-2016 4:28 PM Tanypteryx has not yet responded

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