Closeup of a dragonfly
Photo by Nate Edwards

Ancient, agile, iridescent, and predatory. But they mostly eat mosquitoes. What’s not to like? ¶ To map the history of dragonflies and damselflies—Earth’s oldest flying insects—the National Science Foundation granted $2.3 million to a team led by BYU life-sciences professors Seth M. Bybee (BS ’04) and Jamie Lee Jensen (BS ’00, MS ’04). ¶ Building an extensive tree of life out of DNA data, the researchers will document the evolution of their vision, flight form, and colorful exoskeletons—plus highlight the insects’ vital role as a global bioindicator of healthy freshwater systems.

Video accompanying this article is forthcoming.

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