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Aeshnidae

  • Kenneth J. Tennessen
Chapter

Abstract

The 13 genera and 43 species of Aeshnidae that occur in North America are keyed and diagnostic structural characters are illustrated. Aeshnid nymphs are elongate with a flat prementum, 6- or 7-segmented antennae, and 3-segmented tarsi. Although body shape is similar among the genera, many aeshnids can be identified to genus in the field based on head shape. Characters that are used to distinguish the genera are head and palpal blade shape, dorsal abdominal pattern and structure, posterolateral spines, relative lengths of anal appendages, and epiproct shape. Several genera, especially Aeshna and Rhionaeschna, are difficult to distinguish, and species identification within such genera requires examination of microscopic details. Three genera of aeshnids in North America are monotypic, Basiaeschna, Epiaeschna and Nasiaeschna; those genera, plus Gomphaeschna, are endemic to North America. The genus Hemianax (a migrant species has been recorded in the Lesser Antilles that possibly could migrate to the southern United States) is included in the key to genera and diagnosed in order to distinguish it from Anax. Aeshnids occupy nearly all types of freshwater aquatic habitats, with the likely exception of seepage rivulets. Life cycles range from univoltine to semivoltine; much more research is needed on development, life cycles and ontogenetic change.

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth J. Tennessen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Florida State Collection of ArthropodsGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.WautomaUSA

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