Watershed-Mediated Ecomorphological Variation: A Case Study with the Twin-Striped Clubtail Dragonfly (Hylogomphus geminatus)

Date

2023

Authors

Girgente, Joseph S. (TTU)
McIntyre, Nancy E. (TTU)

Journal Title

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Abstract

Anthropogenic land-cover change is modifying ecosystems at an accelerating rate. Changes to ecomorphologically variable taxa within those ecosystems serve as early-warning signs that resources on which humans and other animals depend are being altered. One known ecomorphologically variable taxon is Hylogomphus geminatus, a species of dragonfly in the southeastern United States that shows pronounced variation in total body length across its limited geographic range. We measured total length of live as well as preserved museum specimens of H. geminatus and the sympatric species Progomphus obscurus (as a means for comparison). Both species showed significant size differences linked to HUC-8 watersheds in which they occur. H. geminatus showed additional significant differences on either side of the Apalachicola River, Florida, for all comparisons by sex. In overlapping watersheds, the species tended to show the same trends in length relative to their respective averages. Smaller body length was associated with more urban and agricultural land cover. These findings indicate that ecomorphological variation is tied to the watershed scale and point to significant variations on either side of the Apalachicola River. More thorough future analyses would be needed to verify trends in body length and identify the drivers behind them.

Description

© 2023 by the authors. cc-by

Keywords

Aquatic Insects, Body Length, Environmental Changes, Land-Cover, Landscape, Streams

Citation

Girgente, J.S., & McIntyre, N.E.. 2023. Watershed-Mediated Ecomorphological Variation: A Case Study with the Twin-Striped Clubtail Dragonfly (Hylogomphus geminatus). Insects, 14(9). https://doi.org/10.3390/insects14090754

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