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Type: Article
Published: 2021-04-29
Page range: 165–170
Abstract views: 514
PDF downloaded: 5

The recently proposed odonatan ‘suborder’ Cephalozygoptera: fact or fiction

Institut de Systématique, Evolution, Biodiversité (ISYEB), Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, CNRS, Sorbonne Université, EPHE, Université des Antilles, CP 50, 57 rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris, France
State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology and Center for Excellence in Life and Paleoenvironment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 39 East Beijing Road, Nanjing, 210008, China Department of Earth Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China
Odonata Odonatoptera phylogeny head morphology taphonomy


The new ‘suborder’ Cephalozygoptera was recently proposed for three fossil families of damselfly-like Odonata, on the basis of three characters of the head. Here we show, thanks to counter-examples of the presence of these characters in compression fossils of genuine Zygoptera, that these ‘characters’ do not exist in reality but are due to deformations and compression of the heads, a very frequent phenomenon in the fossil record of the whole superorder Odonatoptera. Furthermore, these alleged characters would have to have been regarded as symplesiomorphies, insufficient to support a new clade. Consequently, we consider the Cephalozygoptera as unfounded, to be rejected in the current state of knowledge. A new phylogenetic analysis of the whole clade Panodonata would be welcome. We also discuss the position of some previously described fossils: the Paleocene genus Valerea is restored in the Epallagidae (Euphaeidae), and the two Burmese amber genera Electrodysagrion and Palaeodysagrion are restored in the family Dysagrionidae.


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