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The Functional Morphology and Ecology of Jet Propulsion Swimming in Larval Dragonflies under Predation from Suction-Feeding Fish

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Title: The Functional Morphology and Ecology of Jet Propulsion Swimming in Larval Dragonflies under Predation from Suction-Feeding Fish
Author: Edwards, G. Morgan
Department: Department of Integrative Biology
Program: Integrative Biology
Advisor: Robinson, Beren
Abstract: A functional understanding of how phenotypic traits may affect growth, reproduction and survival is necessary to understand their ecological and evolutionary consequences. Larval dragonflies (Odonata: Anisoptera) swim using jet propulsion, likely controlled by abdominal traits and perhaps to escape fish predators. I investigated whether abdominal morphology explains swimming performance and if either explains the distribution of larvae among ponds that vary in predation risk. I recorded and measured the swimming performance of dragonflies responding to simulated attack and tested relationships with abdominal traits expected to influence jet thrust force generation. Variation in swimming performance was explained by abdomen dry weight, ventral surface area, and abdominal segment 10 width across genera as hypothesized. High-performance dragonflies were more likely to occur in ponds containing predatory fish. This is the first investigation of the morphology responsible for jet propulsion, and the relationship between swimming performance and larval dragonfly ecology.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/3219
Date: 2011-12
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