Variability in Larval Character States Used to Distinguish between Species of Pantala Hagen (Odonata: Libellulidae)

Brett H. P. Landwer, Robert W. Sites


Despite widespread distributions and abundance, previously published diagnoses of the larvae of the two species of the dragonfly genus Pantala often were contradictory or confusing. Morphometric analysis of mensural characters and qualitative analysis of relative character states were used to determine the ability of previously published characterizations to accurately distinguish larvae of the two species. We found that many published characterizations were inaccurate or insufficient, and their use in making species level determinations would result in frequent misidentifications. In distinguishing between the two species, the most useful and reliable characteristic was the palpal setal count. However, in specimens where this count is intermediate, other characteristics may need to be evaluated.

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