Resources for Learning More about Dragonflies
This page was updated on 2 November 2002.
- Stokes Beginner's Guide to Dragonflies
and Damselflies. Blair Nikula & Jackie Sones.
2002. Little, Brown and Company. 160 pages. 166 color photographs. Covers
over 100 of the most common and widespread dragonflies and damselflies in
North America. $8.95. Click
here for more info.
- Dragonflies through Binoculars.
Sidney Dunkle. 2000. Oxford University Press. 266 pages. 47 color plates.
Similar in format to the popular Butterflies through Binoculars
series, this guide covers 307 species of dragonflies (but no damselflies)
known from North America. There are 26 pages of introduction, with sections
covering such topics as biology; habitats; identification; finding
dragonflies; conservation; photography; and binoculars. The Species
Accounts occupy 218 pages, including 47 plates of photographs. Each account
is divided into sections headed: Identification, Similar Species, Habitat,
Season, and Comments. The book concludes with a brief bibliography and an
index of both common and scientific names.
Dragonflies through Binoculars is a monumental achievement and a significant addition
to the rapidly growing body of literature on North American odonates.
Everyone interested in these creatures should own a copy or two (one for the
bookshelf, one for the car). Available from many bookstores,
or you can order from the International Odonate
Research Institute, c/o Division of Plant Industry, P. O. Box 147100, Gainesville, FL
32614-7100. Price about $30.
and Damselflies of Cape Cod. Virginia
Carpenter. 1991. Cape Cod Museum of
Natural History. A delightfully written introductory guide with color illustrations of 39
species. A watershed publication for many of us in New England.
book is currently out-of-print.
of the Florida Peninsula, Bermuda, and the Bahamas.
Sidney W. Dunkle.
- Damselflies of
Florida, Bermuda, and the Bahamas. Sidney W.
Dunkle. 1990. Scientific Publishers Nature Guides, Washington D.C.
These two publications were the first odonate "field guides" in North America.
Both are profusely illustrated with color photos and contain extensive information on
identification and natural history. Although covering a rather limited area, many of the
species occur throughout the eastern U.S. Highly recommended,
but unfortunately both are currently out-of-print and getting hard to find.
- The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Algonquin
Provincial Park. Matt Holder. 1996. Algonquin Park Technical Bulletin No.
11. Write to: The Friends of Algonquin Park, P.O. Box 248, Whitney, Ontario, Canada, KOJ
2MO. This 40-page booklet contains species accounts and full color paintings of the 36
most common odonate species in the park; 35 of these species also occur in southern New
England. The species accounts are clearly written and contain a wealth of useful
information for the field observer. The seven page introduction covers some of the basics
of dragonfly biology and the book ends with a glossary and park checklist (85 species).
Not only is this delightful publication very well done, it is also one of the biggest
bargains in the publication industry today: the price is only $2.95 Canadian! Order from:
The Friends of Algonquin Park, P. O. Box 248, Whitney, ONT, K0J 2M0 (credit cards
accepted). Order several and give them to your friends! (A revised and
expanded edition is in the works.)
- Dragonflies and Damselflies of
Northeast Ohio. Larry Rosche. 2002. Illustrated by Jacquelyn
Haley, Jennifer Brumfield, & Kevin Metcalf. Cleveland Museum of Natural
History. 94(?) pages. 43 color illustrations. $18.95. Of the regional publications now appearing on a regular basis, this attractive new guide is one of only a couple to rely on paintings
rather than photos to illustrate the species, and is thus somewhat reminiscent of Ginger Carpenter’s seminal (and now out-of-print)
1991 Cape Cod guide and Matt Holder’s 1996 Algonquin Park guide. Also like those two works, this new guide is geared to
beginners, and covers a rather small geographic area — in this case, just nine counties in the northeast corner of Ohio, which has a known
odonate fauna of 124 species (81 dragonflies and 43 damselflies). For
a review click here. Orders
can be sent to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Drive,
University Circle, Cleveland, OH 44106-1767, or email Renee Boronka at: email@example.com
Dragonflies of Indiana.
James R. Curry. 2001. Indiana Academy of Science. 304 pages. 250+ photographs. Hardcover. 5¾”x 8¾” $32.00.
Of the various regional odonate guides that have appeared in recent years, this is one of the most impressive and attractively
produced. It is hardcover, printed on high quality, glossy paper throughout, with an abundance of nicely reproduced color photos.
It covers only dragonflies (97 species), not damselflies. A more complete
review is available at: http://www.odenews.org/onv9n1.htm#Dragonflies of Indiana.
For ordering information, visit:
- Checklist of Kansas Dragonflies.
Roy J. Beckemeyer and Donald G. Huggins. 1997.
- Checklist of Kansas Damselflies. Roy
J. Beckemeyer and Donald G. Huggins. 1998. These booklets, each 16 pages, contain brief
introductions, identification keys to live dragonflies, and annotated checklists of the 80
species of dragonflies and 40 damselflies recorded from Kansas. Of greatest interest to
those of us in the Northeast are the well-reproduced color photographs, 26 species in each
volume (of which 32 species - 16 each of dragonflies and damselflies - occur in New
England). These checklists are part of the Kansas School Naturalist series (Dragonflies:
Vol. 43, No. 2; Damselflies: Vol. 44, No. 1). Each is available (free ! - though
contributions are welcome) from: Kansas School Naturalist, Division of Biology, Box 4050,
Emporia State University, Emporia, KS 66801.
- A Color Guide to Common Dragonflies of
Wisconsin. Karl Legler, Dorothy Legler, and Dave Westover. 1998. This
64-page, softcover book has photos of 76 of the states 110 dragonfly species, plus
three species of damselflies. The text covers identification, breeding habits, flight
periods, and life histories. Range maps are also included. There are 167 color photographs
which range in quality from mediocre to very good. Seventy-one of the illustrated species
occur in southern New England. The identification sections are geared to in-the-field
determination and contain some previously unpublished field marks. This guide is
self-published and the production is a bit rough. However, odonatists throughout the
Northeast (and elsewhere) will find this guide very useful and we highly recommend it. The
price is $19.95, postpaid. To order, send your check payable to: Karl Legler, 429 Franklin
Street, Sauk City, WI, 53583-1228. A Web Site describing the book is at: http://userpages.itis.com/karlndot/
- Dragonflies of Washington.
Dennis Paulson. 1999.This 32-page, 5½"x 8½" publication covers all of
the 20 damselflies and 56 dragonflies recorded in Washington state. There are 84 color
photographs, plus two cover photos, depicting 16 of the damselfly species and 49 of the
dragonflies. The 16 pages of text include an introduction to dragonflies; an annotated
list of the dragonflies of Washington with habitat, distribution, and seasonality;
sections on dragonfly anatomy, identifying Washington dragonflies, and studying
dragonflies; a key to Washington dragonfly families; and a glossary of terms. The concise
text is packed with information, and the photographs are of high quality and are very well
reproduced. Best of all, the price is only $6.50. To order, contact the Seattle
Audubon Society, 8050 35th Avenue SE, Seattle, WA 98115.
Dragonflies of California, A Beginner's Pocket Guide.
Kathy Biggs. 2000. A small (5.75" x
4.5"), 96-page publication covering 77 species of dragonflies and damselflies in
California. Contains 117 color photos/scans along with descriptions of habitats, flight
periods, and behavior. Publication scheduled for May 2000. The price is $9.95, plus
shipping. To order contact: Azalea Creek Publishing, Common Dragonflies of California, 308
Bloomfield Road, Sebastopol, CA, 95472. More information is available at: http://www.sonic.net/~bigsnest/Pond/Lists/azaleaforth.html
- A Biology of
Phillip S.Corbet. 1963. Quadrangle Books, Inc., Chicago, IL.
Out-of-print, but an excellent, though now somewhat dated, introduction to the biology and
natural history of odes.
Behavior and Ecology of Odonata. Phillip
Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY. The new "bible of
odonatology. "Order it from the International Odonate
Research Institute, c/o Division of Plant Industry, P. O. Box 147100, Gainesville, FL
Dragonflies of North America.
Needham, James G. and Minter S. Westfall,
Jr. 1954. University of California Press. The original manual to North American
dragonflies. However, the descriptions are technical and of little use for field
identification. Also, there is virtually no natural history. Out-of-print and hard to
find (but a revised edition was published in 2000 -- see below).
Dragonflies of North America.
Needham, James G., Minter S. Westfall,
Jr., and Michael May 2000. 939 pages. 24 color plates. $110. Scientific
Publishers. An extensive revision of the 1954 manual. Some years ago, Mike May undertook a complete revision of this landmark
publication – a massive undertaking, but one accomplished with great
success. The revised manual covers 350 species recorded from northern Mexico
through Canada. Extensive keys are included for the families as well as
genera, and for many species the male anal appendages and various other body
parts significant for identification are illustrated, either with
black-and-white photos or line drawings.
A nice, and welcome addition from the first edition is 24 full-color plates:
14 plates of illustrations by Lawrence Zettler and 10 plates of photos.
Color copies of these would be a useful addition to any odonatist’s field
pack. The 73 photos on 10 plates illustrate the major genera and a few life
history stages. The species accounts occupy 748 pages and include extensive,
“stem to stern,” descriptions of each species. These accounts are not
intended to aid in field identification, rather being geared to in-the-hand
or under-the-microscope examinations. Natural history information, aside
from an occasional, very brief comment in the introductory sentence, is
lacking.The book concludes with a 13-page checklist to the species
by region, a 14-page glossary, a 27 page bibliography (nearly 600
citations), and indexes to both the scientific and common names.
- Damselflies of North America. Westfall,
Minter J. and Michael May. Scientific Publishers. 1996. This monumental 649-page book
covers all 161 species of North American damselflies (Zygoptera), including a few from
northern Mexico that have not yet been recorded in the U.S. This not a field guide, but a
manual geared toward identification in the hand and/or the laboratory. Although there are
eight plates of color photographs, only 31 species representing 20 of the 28 genera are
illustrated. There are many black-and-white illustrations, both photos and drawings, of
terminal appendages and other anatomical features that are critical for identification,
but which are visible only in the hand and usually only with magnification. However, there
are also some drawings of thoracic and abdominal patterns that can be useful for field
identification. Although beginners may find it a bit overwhelming, anyone seriously
interested in odonates will want it on their bookshelf. It can be ordered directly from
the International Odonate Research Institute, c/o Division of Plant Industry, P. O. Box
147100, Gainesville, FL 32614-7100. The price is $69.50 plus $5.00 shipping.
- The Odonata
of Canada and Alaska, Volume I, The Damselflies. Walker, E.M. 1953.
The Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Volume II, The Dragonflies
in part. Walker, E.M. 1958.
The Odonata of Canada and Alaska, Volume III: The Anisoptera
- Three Families. Walker, Edmund M. and Philip S. Corbet. 1975. University
of Toronto Press. This three-volume set is one of the classics in North
American odonatology. Though the species descriptions are technical, there is a great deal
of natural history information. The originals are long out-of-print and virtually
impossible to find, but the Toronto Entomologists Association has recently reprinted all
three volumes. The price is about $145 U.S. expensive, but less than the used
originals sell for (assuming you can even find one). For more information contact: T.E.A., c/o Alan
Hanks, 34 Seaton Drive, Aurora, Ontario L4G 2K1; phone: 905-727-6993; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Odonata
or Dragonflies of Connecticut.
Garman, Philip. 1927. State Geological and
Natural History Survey, Hartford, CT. A very technical manual, long out-of-print and not
and Dragonflies (Odonata) of Ontario: Resource Guide and Annotated List.
Catling, P. M. and V. R. Brownell. This book is 198 pages, with complete
species accounts, dot maps, and identification keys. It is also liberally
illustrated with drawings of anatomical details useful for identification.
The book can be ordered directly from the authors (2326 Scrivens Drive, R.R.
3, Metcalfe, Ontario, K0A 2P0; email: email@example.com).
The price is $28.00 plus $6.00 shipping, Canadian funds.
Common Dragonflies of the
Northeast by Richard K. Walton and Richard A.
This video presents superb footage of 44 species
of dragonflies (no damselflies) commonly found in the northeastern states, and covers
identification, behavior, and habitats. If youve been wondering exactly what a
Prince Baskettail, or a Springtime Darner, or a Widow Skimmer looks like, this video is
what youve been waiting for! The video runs for about 30 minutes and sells for
$24.95 plus $5.00 S&H (MA residents add 5% sales tax). It can be ordered from:
Natural History Services,
7 Concord Greene #8, Concord, MA 01742.
- Ode News, An Occasional Newsletter about
Dragonflies and Damselflies on Cape Cod. Write to: Ode News, c/o Blair
Nikula, 2 Gilbert Lane, Harwich Port, MA, 02646. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(No subscription fee.)
- Argia, The News Journal of the Dragonfly Society
of the Americas. Write to: Dragonfly Society of the Americas, c/o T.
Donnelly, 2091 Partridge Lane, Binghamton, NY, 13903. (Annual dues are $15.)
- Williamsonia, A Quarterly Newsletter of the Michigan
Odonata Survey. Contact: Michigan Odonata Survey, c/o Museum of
Zoology-Insect Division, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI48109-1079.
Phone: 734-647-2199; FAX: 734-763-4080.
- The Ohio Dragon-Flier, Newsletter of the Ohio Odonata
Society. Contact: Bob Glotzhober, Ohio Historical Society, 1982 Velma
Avenue, Columbus, OH 43211-2497. Phone: 614-297-2633; FAX: 614-297-2628;
BioQuip Products - 17803 LaSalle Avenue, Gardena,
CA 90248 (ph. 310-324-0620)
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