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Integr Comp Biol. 2009 Nov;49(5):590-606. Epub 2009 Jun 24.

Episodes in insect evolution.

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*Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-2525, USA;Department of Entomology and Laboratories of Analytical Biology, National Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20013-7012, USA;Department of Entomology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA;Department of Integrative Biology, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA;Division of Invertebrate Zoology, Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024, USA;Section of Organismal, Integrative and Systems Biology, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe AZ 85287-4501, USA;Department of Basic Sciences, Midwestern University, Glendale, AZ 85308, USA;Department of Neurobiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA;Department of Biology, University of Arkansas Little Rock, Little Rock, AR 72204, USA.


This article derives from a society-wide symposium organized by Timothy Bradley and Adriana Briscoe and presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Boston, Massachusetts. David Grimaldi provided the opening presentation in which he outlined the major evolutionary events in the formation and subsequent diversification of the insect clade. This presentation was followed by speakers who detailed the evolutionary history of specific physiological and/or behavioral traits that have caused insects to be both ecologically successful and fascinating as subjects for biological study. These include a review of the evolutionary history of the insects, the origins of flight, osmoregulation, the evolution of tracheal systems, the evolution of color vision, circadian clocks, and the evolution of eusociality. These topics, as covered by the speakers, provide an overview of the pattern and timing of evolutionary diversification and specialization in the group of animals we know as insects.


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