Odonata

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Odonata

[‚ōd·ən′ad·ə]
(invertebrate zoology)
The dragonflies, an order of the class Insecta, characterized by a head with large compound eyes, and wings with clear or transparent membranes traversed by networks of veins.

Odonata

 

(dragonflies and damselflies), an order of predatory insects capable of rapid flight. The large insects have a mobile head, large eyes, short bristle-like antennae, four transparent wings richly netted with veins, and a long, slender abdomen.

There are three suborders: Zygoptera, Anisoptera, and Aniso-zygoptera. The last suborder is common in Japan and India and includes a single genus, whose forms combine the features of the first two suborders. The Zygoptera have narrow fore and hind wings of nearly the same shape, which are pressed together and raised upward when at rest. In the Anisoptera the wings differ in shape and lie horizontally when at rest; the base of the hind wings is wide. The wing and the abdomen measure 10–94 and 14–120 mm long, respectively.

Dragonflies and damselflies feed on other insects that they seize in flight. They are considered beneficial owing to their destruction of mosquitoes, black flies, and other injurious insects. The insects do, however, spread protogonimosis, a dangerous disease of poultry.

Dragonflies copulate while in flight. The secondary copulative apparatus of the males is highly specialized and has no analogues among other insects. The eggs are laid in water, in the tissues of aquatic plants, or, less commonly, in wet soil. The larvae develop in water and breathe by means of gills. Zygoptera larvae have the trachéal gills at the caudal end, and the Anisoptera larvae have the rectal tracheal gills on the walls of the rectum, which is periodically filled with water. Metamorphosis is incomplete. The larvae have a very long lower lip that forms a prehensile organ, the mask, which protrudes when seizing prey and conceals the jaws when at rest. The larvae are predators, feeding on aquatic insect larvae and, sometimes, attacking tadpoles and fry. They serve, in turn, as food for fish.

At the end of the developmental period, the larvae emerge from the water and attach themselves to plants or uneven places in soil. The last molting occurs on land near a body of water. Some species can fly great distances away from water. During mass flights Libellula quadrimaculata forms a dense swarm stretching dozens of kilometers.

There are about 4,500 species, most of which inhabit the tropics and humid subtropics. About 165 species are widely distributed throughout the USSR except in arid regions.

REFERENCES

Zhizri zhivotnykh, vol. 3. Moscow, 1969. Pages 254–59.

B. R. STRIGANOVA

References in periodicals archive ?
In this study, we demonstrated that the exposure of odonate nymphs to acidic water resulted in significantly losses of [Na.
Studies in other odonates have suggested that selective pressures such as landscape structure (Taylor & Merriam, 1995), food and predation stress (Svensson & Friberg, 2007), wind and high acidification of the larvae biotopes (Marinov & McHugh, 2010), and sexual selection (Outomuro & Johansson, 2011), can affect the evolution of wing and abdomen characters.
2007), it is imperative that biologists continue to investigate why certain odonate species are less common than others.
Other odonates present were Selysiothemis nigra, which was common, and small numbers of Ischnura evansi, Crocothemis erythraea, Diplacodes lefebvrei, Orthetrum sabina and Trithemis kirbyi.
Around here, Sandpiper Pond takes the prize, with 39 odonate species recorded there.
Of the slightly more than 400 odonate species documented in North America, 193 have been found in New York--the second highest richness of any state, behind only Texas
2004) called attention to the areas occupied by aquatic plants where, according to the authors, the density of Odonate larvae and the total predation rates per unit area can be higher than in open water.
While life history patterns have been worked out for some odonate species, the life cycle, food habits, and production of P.
We tested these predictions using a system of three species/size classes of anuran larvae and a larval odonate predator (Anax longipes) in cattle watering tanks.