Odonata is an order of charismatic insects, commonly called dragonflies and damselflies, that provide a rewarding study system to answer questions such as those related to diversity and biogeography. Despite being relatively well-studied compared to other insect orders, odonates have suffered from inconsistencies and disagreements about proper morphological terminology that provide barriers to incoming workers. These disagreements have subsequently led to confusion and the incorrect application of terms. Here, we clarify the terminology and propose standard terminology for terminal appendages. This terminology is employed in a taxonomic revision of Vanuatubasis Ober & Staniczek, 2009. This endemic genus of damselfly found on the island archipelago of Vanuatu and was previously only known from three species. Here, we formally describe and treat all known species of Vanuatubasis including the association of females for known species. We also describe new species Vantuatubasis evelynae sp. nov., V. insularivorum sp. nov., V. kapularum sp. nov., V. nunggoli sp. nov., V. punicea sp. nov., and V. xanthochroa sp. nov. from material collected in Vanuatu. An illustrated key to both males and females of all species within Vanuatubasis is provided as well as distributions for all known species. Finally, we explore the biogeographical patterns in Vanuatu using this genus. We reconstruct a phylogeny of Vanuatubasis, in the context of its two sister genera, to begin unraveling the complex biogeography of this lineage. We test hypothesis of dispersal from Fiji, routes of colonization across the archipelago, and how relationships reflect geographic proximity in the genus. The results provide a vital first step in understanding the faunistic patterns within Vanuatu, as well as broader patterns across the Pacific.



College and Department

Life Sciences; Biology



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biogeography, morphology, new species, South Pacific, Vanuatu



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Life Sciences Commons