Giant dragonfly Petalura gigantea, copyright Leonard Müller.

Belongs within: Anisoptera.
Contains: Gomphoidea, Cavilabiata, Telephlebiidae.

The clade Eteoanisoptera includes the majority of living dragonflies (excluding only the relictual genus Epiophlebia). Members of this group have relatively broad wings that are generally held flat at rest. The larvae are able to move quickly by explosively expelling water from the rectal cavity. Within the Eteoanisoptera, the Petaluroidea are a group of large dragonflies united by a number of forewing synapomorphies including a very narrow postnodal space, with many cells distal from the pterostigma, and a wide subdiscoidal triangle containing a number of cross-veins. The petaluroids are regarded as the sister clade of the remaining dragonflies in the Euanisoptera, but this latter clade is less strongly supported (Nel et al. 2001).

The Aeshnoidea include the Aeshnidae, hawkers, a group of medium-sized to large, usually strong-flying dragonflies, and their close relatives. Larvae of Aeshnoidea bear sharp lateral spines on at least some abdominal segments, including segment 9 (Watson & O'Farrell 1991). Aeshnids can be distinguished from other living dragonflies by their having wings with vein MA converging on R4 but degenerate distally (Theischinger & Hawking 2006). The Cymatophlebiidae are a family of aeshnoids known from the later Jurassic and early Cretaceous characterised by undulating veins in the wings, particularly vein IR2.

Characters (from Grimaldi & Engel 2005): Wings with pterostigmal brace vein (supporting vein under inner edge of pterostigma); discoidal cell divided into two triangular cells; distinctive anal loop; small, frequently darkened area of veinless membrane present at base of wings near anal region; secondary 'CuP' vein associated with expanded anal region in hind wing. Ovipositor vestigial. Naiad able to propel itself using water pressure from rectal chamber.

    |  i. s.: Palaeaeschna S02
    |         Juragomphus Nel, Bechly et al. 2001 [Juragomphidae] NB01
    |           `--*J. karatauensis Nel, Bechly et al. 2001 NB01
    |         Libellulium longialata GE05
    |--Petaluroidea [Petalurida] GE05
    |    |--Protolindeniidae RP02
    |    |--Aktassiinae [Aktassiidae] RP02
    |    |    |--Aktassia Pritykina 1968 NB01
    |    |    `--Aeschnogomphus Handlirsch 1906 NB01
    |    `--Petaluridae TH06
    |         |--Uropetala carovei (White 1846) HL02
    |         |--Phenes raptor Rambur 1842 FN02
    |         `--Petalura TH06
    |              |--P. gigantea Leach 1815 TH06
    |              |--P. hesperia Watson 1958 TH06
    |              |--P. ingentissima Tillyard 1908 TH06
    |              |--P. litorea Theischinger 1999 TH06
    |              `--P. pulcherrima Tillyard 1913 TH06
    `--Euanisoptera [Exophytica] RP02
         |--Gomphoidea GE05
         `--+--Cavilabiata GE05
            `--Aeshnoidea [Aeshnoptera] GE05
                 |  i. s.: Chrysogomphus Ren 1994 FB03
                 |           `--*C. beipiaoensis Ren 1994 FB03
                 |--Eumorbaeschnidae RP02
                 |--Telephlebiidae WO91
                 |--Mesuropetala RJ93 [Mesuropetalidae RP02]
                 |    `--M. koehleri RJ93
                 |--Cymatophlebia W13 [Cymatophlebiidae RP02]
                 |    `--C. longialata W13
                 |--Paramesuropetala [Liupanshaniidae] NB01
                 |    `--P. gigantea Bechly et al. 2001 NB01
                 `--Aeshnidae [Aeschnidae] TH06
                      |  i. s.: Gomphoaeschna SL89
                      |         *Tetracanthagyna plagiata (Waterhouse 1878) [=Gynacantha plagiata] SL89
                      |         Adversaeschna brevistyla (Rambur 1842) TH06
                      |         Boyeria A07
                      |         Basiaeshna A07
                      |         Oligoaeschna Selys Longchamps 1889 SL89
                      |           |--*O. modiglianii Selys Longchamps 1889 SL89
                      |           `--O. kunigamiensis (Ishida 1972) I92
                      |         Karschia Förster 1900 non Körb. 1865 (ICBN) T08
                      |           |--K. angulata [=Gynacantha angulata] T08
                      |           `--K. cornuta [=Gynacantha cornuta] T08
                      |         Acanthagyna dravida LM72
                      |--Anactinae WO91
                      |    |--Hemianax papuensis (Burmeister 1839) WO91, TH06 [=Anax papuensis HL02]
                      |    |--Anaciaeschna Selys 1878 WO91, SL89
                      |    |    `--A. jaspidea (Burmeister 1839) TH06 (see below for synonymy)
                      |    `--Anax TH06
                      |         |--A. amazili PP72
                      |         |--A. ephippiger [=Hemianax ephippiger] HL02
                      |         |--A. georgius Selys 1872 TH06
                      |         |--A. gibbosulus Rambur 1842 TH06
                      |         |--A. guttatus (Burmeister 1839) TH06
                      |         |--A. imperator RD77
                      |         `--A. junius RD77
                      |--Gynacanthaginae WO91
                      |    |--Agyrtacantha dirupta (Karsch 1889) WO91, TH06
                      |    |--Austrogynacantha Tillyard 1908 WO91, T08
                      |    |    `--*A. heterogena Tillyard 1908 [=Gynacantha heterogena de Selys ms] T08
                      |    `--Gynacantha WO91
                      |         |--G. dobsoni Fraser 1951 TH06
                      |         |--G. kirbyi Krüger 1898 TH06
                      |         |--G. mocsaryi Förster 1898 TH06
                      |         |--G. nourlangie Theischinger & Watson 1991 TH06
                      |         |--G. rosenbergi Kaup 1867 TH06
                      |         `--G. subinterrupta SL89
                      `--Aeshninae WO91
                           |--Caliaeschna T08
                           `--Aeschna GD00
                                |--A. brevistyla Rambur 1842 HL02
                                |--A. canadensis A07
                                |--A. crenata K01
                                |--A. cyanea GD00
                                |--A. forcipata L02
                                |--A. grandis K01
                                |--A. juncea K01
                                |--A. larvata S02
                                |--A. nigroflava I92
                                |--A. pryeri K00
                                |--A. sitchensis B-PE07
                                |--A. subarctica Walker 1906 I92
                                `--A. thomassoni Kirby 1900 K00

Anaciaeschna jaspidea (Burmeister 1839) TH06 [=Aeschna jaspidea SL89; incl. Anax taitensis SL89]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A07] Anderson, T. M. 2007. An assessment of water mite parasitism of dragonflies based on museum collections. In: Morales-Malacara, J. B., V. M. Behan-Pelletier, E. Ueckermann, T. M. Pérez, E. G. Estrada-Venegas & M. Badii (eds) Acarology XI: Proceedings of the International Congress pp. 61–69. Instituto de Biología and Faculdad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Sociedad Latinoamericana de Acarología: México.

[B-PE07] Behan-Pelletier, V. M., & B. Eamer. 2007. Aquatic Oribatida: adaptations, constraints, distribution and ecology. In: Morales-Malacara, J. B., V. M. Behan-Pelletier, E. Ueckermann, T. M. Pérez, E. G. Estrada-Venegas & M. Badii (eds) Acarology XI: Proceedings of the International Congress pp. 71–82. Instituto de Biología and Faculdad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Sociedad Latinoamericana de Acarología: México.

[FB03] Fleck, G., G. Bechly, X. Martínez-Delclòs, E. Jarzembowski, R. Coram & A. Nel. 2003. Phylogeny and classification of the Stenophlebioptera (Odonata: Epiproctophora). Annales de la Societe Entomologique de France 39 (1): 55–93.

[FN02] Fleck, G., & A. Nel. 2002. The first isophlebioid dragonfly (Odonata: Isophlebioptera: Campterophlebiidae) from the Mesozoic of China. Palaeontology 45 (6): 1123–1136.

[GD00] Giribet, G., D. L. Distel, M. Polz, W. Sterrer & W. C. Wheeler. 2000. Triploblastic relationships with emphasis on the acoelomates and the position of Gnathostomulida, Cycliophora, Plathelminthes, and Chaetognatha: a combined approach of 18S rDNA sequences and morphology. Systematic Biology 49: 539–562.

[GE05] Grimaldi, D., & M. S. Engel. 2005. Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press: New York.

[HL02] Haacks, M., & A. Lehmann. 2002. Some observations on dragonflies (Insecta: Odonata) throughout New Zealand. Weta 24: 13–17.

[I92] Iwahashi, J. (ed.) 1992. Reddo Deeta Animaruzu: a pictorial of Japanese fauna facing extinction. JICC: Tokyo.

[K00] Kirby, W. F. 1900. On a small collection of Odonata (dragonflies) from Hainan, collected by the late John Whitehead. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, series 7, 5: 530–539, pl. 12.

[K01] Klapálek, F. 1901. Neuropteroidák [Neuropteroiden]. In: Horváth, G. (ed.) Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazása [Dritte Asiatische Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] vol. 2. Zichy Jenő Gróf Harmadik Ázsiai Utazásának Állattani Eredményei [Zoologische Ergebnisse der Dritten Asiatischen Forschungsreise des Grafen Eugen Zichy] pp. 203–221. Victor Hornyánszky: Budapest, and Karl W. Hierseman: Leipzig.

[LM72] Lahiri, A. R., & T. R. Mitra. 1972. A note on Acanthagyna dravida (Lieftinck) [Insecta: Odonata: Aeshnidae]. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 69 (2): 438–439.

[L02] Latreille, P. A. 1802. Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière des crustacés et des insectes vol. 3. Familles naturelles des genres. F. Dufart: Paris.

[NB01] Nel, A., G. Bechly, X. Martínez-Delclòs & G. Fleck. 2001. A new family of Anisoptera from the Upper Jurassic of Karatau in Kazakhstan (Insecta: Odonata: Juragomphidae n. fam.) Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde Serie B (Geologie und Paläontologie) 314: 1–9.

[PP72] Parkin, P., D. T. Parkin, A. W. Ewing & H. A. Ford. 1972. A report on the arthropods collected by the Edinburgh University Galapagos Islands expedition, 1968. Pan-Pacific Entomologist 48 (2): 100–107.

[RP02] Rasnitsyn, A. P., & L. N. Pritykina. 2002. Superorder Libellulidea Laicharting, 1781. Order Odonata Fabricius, 1792. The dragonflies. In: Rasnitsyn, A. P., & D. L. J. Quicke (eds) History of Insects pp. 97–104. Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht.

[RD77] Richards, O. W., & R. G. Davies. 1977. Imms' General Textbook of Entomology 10th ed. vol. 2. Classification and Biology. Chapman and Hall: London.

[RJ93] Ross, A. J., & E. A. Jarzembowski. 1993. Arthropoda (Hexapoda; Insecta). In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 363–426. Chapman & Hall: London.

[SL89] Selys Longchamps, E. de. 1889. Odonates de Sumatra comprenant les espèces recueillies à Pulo Nias par M. le D.r E. Modigliani. Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova, Serie 2a, 7: 444–484.

[S02] Sinitshenkova, N. D. 2002. Ecological history of the aquatic insects. In: Rasnitsyn, A. P., & D. L. J. Quicke (eds) History of Insects pp. 388–426. Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht.

[TH06] Theischinger, G., & J. Hawking. 2006. The Complete Field Guide to Dragonflies of Australia. CSIRO Publishing: Collingwood (Victoria).

[T08] Tillyard, R. J. 1908. On the new genus Austrogynacantha [Neuroptera: Odonata] with description of species. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 33: 423–431, pl. 5.

[WO91] Watson, J. A. L., & A. F. O’Farrell. 1991. Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers 2nd ed. vol. 1 pp. 294–310. Melbourne University Press: Carlton (Victoria).

[W13] Witton, M. P. 2013. Pterosaurs: Natural History, Evolution, Anatomy. Princeton University Press: Princeton (New Jersey).

Last updated: 29 May 2022.

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