Dragonflies are definitely one of the most beautiful insects out there. Most of us remember them as tiny flying helicopters with a shiny green lustre that made them stand out. However, now, due to climate change, this lustre is fading away.
As the planet warms, a study found that male dragonflies are losing a crucial feature they typically use to attract female mates: the ornate black patterns on their wings. The new research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that male dragonflies are adapting to a warming climate by shedding more of their darker wing patterns.
Researchers also worry that female species may no longer be able to recognize their male counterparts without their tangled wing patterns and, thus, won’t be able to reproduce as temperatures rise by two degrees, which can get really dangerous in places that are already very hot.
Michael Moore at Washington University in St. Louis, who led the study, explains, “Our study shows that the wing pigmentation of dragonfly males evolves so consistently in response to the climate that it’s among the most predictable evolutionary responses ever observed for a mating-related trait”.
He further added, “Given that our planet is expected to continue warming, our results suggest that dragonfly males may eventually need to adapt to global climate change by evolving less wing colouration.”