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.

Dragonflies 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. Unfortunately, this book is currently out-of-print.

Dragonflies of the Florida Peninsula, Bermuda, and the Bahamas. Sidney W. Dunkle. 1989.
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:

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: 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 state’s 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:

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.

Common 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:

A Biology of Dragonflies. 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.

Dragonflies: Behavior and Ecology of Odonata. Phillip S.Corbet.1999. 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 32614-7100.

The 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).

The 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:

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 easily found.

Damselflies 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: The price is $28.00 plus $6.00 shipping, Canadian funds.

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