Urban Ecosystems

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 737–750 | Cite as

Lentic and lotic odonate communities and the factors that influence them in urban versus rural landscapes

  • Victoria A. Prescott
  • Perri K. EasonEmail author


Habitat alteration via urbanization has very different effects on even closely related taxa. Most research investigating the ecological effects of urbanization has focused on birds or mammals, resulting in a relatively poor understanding of how the species richness and community composition of invertebrates may change. We quantified differences in species richness of adult odonates (dragonflies and damselflies) at lentic and lotic sites in urban and rural landscapes, and we examined environmental factors that might drive the differences in community composition that we observed. For lotic sites, species richness did not differ between urban versus rural sites for either dragonflies or damselflies. For lentic sites, urban and rural sites contained similar dragonfly species richness, but damselfly species richness was significantly lower at urban sites than at rural sites. Differences in lentic odonate community composition were associated with the amount of urban development within 150 m of each site, mean algal coverage, and distance to the urban center. At lotic sites, water temperature and distance to the urban center were correlated with differences in odonate community composition. The differing responses to urbanization observed in this study were probably a consequence of differences between lentic versus lotic ecosystems and between dragonflies versus damselflies in dispersal capability and habitat specificity. Given that different environmental factors affected these taxa differently in lentic and lotic sites, maintaining the highest level of odonate diversity possible across a landscape will require the use of different management practices for each ecosystem type.


Odonata Urbanization Lentic Lotic Community composition 



We thank Benjamin J. Adams for input and guidance on statistical analyses and Jessica Cooley for her assistance in data collection. We also thank Dr. Margaret Carreiro and two anonymous reviewers for their advice and helpful comments regarding this manuscript. Cornett Fund from the University of Louisville provided funding for this project.

Supplementary material

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Loyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

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