80.3 Wednesday, Jan. 6 A Complex Flex: Comparative Functional Morphology of Flexible Vein-Joints in Dragonflies and Damselflies CRALL, James D*; DONOUGHE, Seth T; MERZ, Rachel A; COMBES, Stacey A; Concord Field Station, Harvard University; University of Pennsylvania; Swarthmore College; Concord Field Station, Harvard University firstname.lastname@example.org
The elastic protein resilin has been shown to play an important structural role in the wings of insects belonging to several orders. However, the evolution and diversity of such resilin-containing structural mechanisms in insect wings remains poorly described. We have employed a variety of techniques, including fluorescence microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and mechanical tests to compare composition (i.e. presence of resilin), structure and shape (i.e. presence and morphology of “spikes” or cuticular protrusions associated with some vein-joints), and mechanical behavior of wing vein-joints across a diverse group of species within the order Odonata. By categorizing different vein-joint types and mapping their distribution within wings, we have characterized a surprising diversity of morphological patterns of vein-joints among different taxa within Odonata. Mechanical testing on fresh wings suggests that these morphological patterns are correlated with different mechanical behaviors of certain wing regions. Interestingly, some of the morphological patterns described are not easily reconciled with previously proposed mechanisms, implying a wider and more diverse role of resilin in the passive deformation of insect wings than has previously been described.