ASK about the species and sequencing.
CHAT in a 30 minute text chat with the species champion.
VOTE for a species to be sequenced for the first time ever!
Yes - I'm found all over England and Wales, from Lands End to Leeds, with even a few outposts in chilly Scotland (https://spatial.nbnatlas.org/?q=lsid%3ANBNSYS0000005630)
Not known - another species in the genus (Anax junius) has a genome size estimated at 1.44pg, equivalent to ~1.4 Gbp (half the size of the human genome!)
According to TimeTree (http://www.timetree.org/) humans and dragonflies shared a common ancestor 794 MILLION YEARS AGO!
I should be sequenced because...: Dragonflies are evolutionarily long lived and wildly successful predators, with a really big genome (for an insect!).
Tell us more...:
Please vote for my genome to be sequenced – genomes are not just the instruction set of how to build an organism, but also contain a record of a species evolutionary history. In the case of the Emperor Dragonfly this is a very long history – dragonflies have been around for 100s of millions of years, and the dragonfly genome “history book” is HUGE – at least 10 times the size of a fruit fly, for example. Sequencing my genome will help us work out why my genome is so big, what evolutionary stories it can tell us, and perhaps reveal the secret of out-living the dinosaurs!
One sentence about me...: I'm part of an ancient group of superb aerial predators, who knows what secrets sequencing my genome might reveal?
Dragonflies have been around for nearly 800 million years and have outlived many other groups of organisms, including the dinosuars. In this time we have not changed much, perhaps because we are so good at what we do – as aerial insect predators there is very little to touch us – you can think of us as the (tiny) Great White Sharks of the skies!
Dragonflies like me (the Emperor Dragonfly – Anax imperator) are the top of the tree in terms of size, speed and ferocity – we evolved in Africa millions of years ago but have been steadily moving northwards, conquering the planet… or maybe its just getting warmer due to climate change and that means there is more food, for longer…. Which ever it is, as the lion of the skies, I go where the food is – I’ve even been seen as far North as Inverness (https://spatial.nbnatlas.org/?q=lsid%3ANBNSYS0000005630).
Although you will only see me tearing up the skies over rivers and ponds in the UK summer, I spend the rest of the year being equally ferocious under water as a “nymph”. Don’t let the cute name fool you – this form is not as beautiful as my flying one, but is equally fierce, grabbing prey much bigger than myself with an amazing extending jaw-with-claws. Blink and you’ll miss it… or at least that is what the unfortunate tadpoles think!
You can learn lots more about me at: https://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/species/emperor-dragonfly
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Old, new, blue!
What's it like where you live?
Beautiful, sunny riverbanks and grassy meadows (Well, I'm not coming out unless it is sunny!)
What's your favourite food?
Mosquitoes (but anything that flies really!)
What's your family life like?
Are you endangered or threatened by anything?
Nothing can catch me, and the British Summer is so short - so I never feel threatened!
What's the best thing about you/interesting fact?
I can fly in any direction, hover and flip - millions of years before those pesky drones!
The champion of this species is...
Dr Richard Badge, University of Leicester (human geneticist and amateur dragon fly chaser!)