Organisms Diversity & Evolution

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 209–227 | Cite as

Phylogeny, classification and taxonomy of European dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata): a review

  • K.-D. B. DijkstraEmail author
  • V. J. Kalkman


Although Europe is the cradle of dragonfly systematics and despite great progress in the last 2 decades, many issues in naming its species and understanding their evolutionary history remain unresolved. Given the public interest, conservation importance and scientific relevance of Odonata, it is time that remaining questions on the species’ status, names and affinities are settled. We review the extensive but fragmentary literature on the phylogeny, classification and taxonomy of European Odonata, providing summary phylogenies for well-studied groups and an ecological, biogeographic and evolutionary context where possible. Priorities for further taxonomic, phylogenetic and biogeographic research are listed and discussed. We predict that within a decade the phylogeny of all European species will be known.


Odonata Palaearctic Europe Diversity Systematics Evolution Biogeography Mike May Festschrift 



The manuscript benefitted strongly from information and comments provided by Sónia Ferreira, Matti Hämäläinen, Erik Pilgrim, Frank Stokvis, Haomiao Zhang and two anonymous referees.


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Copyright information

© Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Netherlands Centre for Biodiversity NaturalisLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.European Invertebrate Survey NederlandLeidenThe Netherlands

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