Dragonfly flight performance: a model system for biomechanics, physiological genetics, and animal competitive behaviour
Adult dragonflies are heavily dependent on their flight muscles and flight ability for nearly all of their adult activities. This chapter reviews research that presents dragonflies as model organisms for examining mechanisms that underlie variation in flight performance within and between species, molecular mechanisms by which muscle performance is adjusted within individuals, and how these physiological traits affect territorial and mating success. Results of these studies in dragonflies have provided fundamental new knowledge that informs the theoretical bases of a number of fields: biomechanics of animal locomotion, physiological genetics, and game theory approaches to animal contests. New insights that cross the boundaries of these disparate fields demonstrate the payoff for performing integrative research.
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