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The Ephemeroptera (mayflies) is considered to be among the first group of organisms to have ever taken flight and also are unique among all insects by having a non-reproductive winged stage that molts (subimago). Despite these peculiarities, the phylogenetic relationships among mayfly families remains debatable and in some groups is unknown. Recent cladistic studies based on morphology have provided resolution in some ephemeropteran groups, however, there has yet to be a comprehensive analysis of familial level relationships.

We have begun an exciting, novel, and much needed project to address the higher-level phylogeny for Ephemeroptera using DNA sequence information combined with morphological data. Our goal is to sequence a wide range of exemplar taxa for multiple genes, combine this information with morphological data, and use these data to gain new insights into ephemeropteran systematics and evolution.

I am currently using data based on five genes (18S rDNA, 28S rDNA, 16S, 12S, and histone 3) and morphology to look at these relationships. I plan on adding several more genes in the near future.

A critical component of this research is to obtain a wide range of ephemeropteran taxa (and odonate taxa), and this project will not succeed without the collaboration of investigators throughout the world. Consequently I am seeking assistance from any investigators who can provide us with material for DNA analysis, and I am also seeking input on interesting questions in ephemeropteran systematics. I currently have over 200 genera deposited in the genomic tissue bank. Check my taxon sampling list to see taxa that have been acquired. Material can be collected into 95-100% ethanol, and specimens up to 2 years provide good results. In addition, I am organizing the material into the first genomic tissue bank of Ephemeroptera, where specimens will be stored at -80° C. All tissue will be available for any future studies and collaborations.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0206505. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Principal Investigator: Heath Ogden