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Taxonomy

TaxonomyThe scientific discipline that is concerned with organizing and classifying living organisms, grouping them according to similarities, and giving names to those groups is called TAXONOMY. The Linnaean system, named for its developer, Carl von Linne, assigns every organism a scientific name consisting of two parts, a genus and a species. 

A species is usually considered to be a group of individual organisms capable of reproducing themselves over time. An Odonate example is Common Green Darner, other species include dog, spotted skunk or sugar maple.

A genus is a group of closely related species. Dogs are grouped with wolves in the genus Canis, maple trees are in the genus Acer. King Skimmers (Libellula) are an example of an odonate genus.

Each genus and species is assigned a unique two-part name, the first, which is capitalized, is the genus, and the second, lowercase, is the species.  For example, Libellula lydia refers to the Widow Skimmer.  Libellula is the genus (the King Skimmers) and lydia refers specifically to Widow Skimmer.

These names, which are "Latinized" forms of words from many languages, are standard throughout the world.  For example, Pantala flavescens refers to Wandering Glider, wherever in the world you are and whatever language you speak.

Genuses are grouped into similar families, families into orders, orders into classes, classes into phyla (singular: phylum) and phyla into kingdoms.

What are odes?  Here is their classification:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda (hard, jointed shells such as insects, crustaceans and spiders)
Class: Insecta (typically 3 body segments and six legs)
Order: Odonata (dragonflies, damselflies)

The order Odonata is divided into three suborders:
Zygoptera ( Modern day damselflies)
Anisoptera (Modern day dragonflies)
Anisozygoptera (Ancient suborder which has some characters of both our current suborders.)

Zygoptera in North America is divided into 3 families and Anisoptera is divided into 7 families.  These families contain all the genuses and species we have today.  In a few cases, scientists have discovered variation within a species and have broken them down into sub-species.  In these cases, the critter has three names, with the subspecies appended to the name.

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