Dragonflies cover

Steve Brooks

This book is fully illustrated with colour photographs that reveal the beauty and hidden complexity of these intriguing insects.

978 0 565 09180 4
April 2003
235 x 210 mm
96 pp
Colour throughout
Natural History Museum


Dragonflies and damselflies have lived on earth for hundreds of millions of years, and there are thousands of different species living in watery environments throughout the world. Their aerial agility and vivid colours make them easily noticed on sunny summer days. But few people will have looked beyond the flash of blue, red, green or yellow to consider the lives of dragonflies.

From the fossil record, which stretches back an astonishing 250 million years, to a discussion of the major human impacts that are threatening many of today's species to extinction, Steve Brooks takes you into the world of these fascinating insects. 

He introduces their complex lifestyles - from the ferocious larval stages, lurking amongst plants and debris in lakes and rivers, to their transformation into breathtaking adults swooping after prey or fighting rivals to defend their territories. He discusses how they evolved into masters of aerial predation, capable of travelling thousands of miles while on migration, and the complex reproductive strategies of courtship and territoriality. 

The importance of dragonflies is revealed as predators of insects such as mosquitoes the adults of which transmit malaria, as well as their value as indicators of environmental quality. Also included are suggestions for projects that the reader can do to conserve dragonflies like recording their distributions or digging a garden pond.

This title is now out of print.

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Steve Brooks's respect for dragonflies began as a boy when the first dragonfly larva he caught in a local pond ate everything else he had in his jam-jar. 

He has been fortunate to follow his boyhood interest in dragonflies and wetland natural history into a career at The Natural History Museum, London where he has worked in the Department of Entomology since 1979. 

He is author of A field guide to the dragonflies and damselflies of Great Britain and Ireland and has written many scientific articles on dragonflies. 

He is a member of the British Dragonfly Society and has been editor of the BDS Journal and a member of the BDS Conservation Group. 

His research into dragonflies has taken him to Central America, southern and western Africa and much of Europe.


Find out what others think of this book.

"Very concise and easy to read, with some stunning photography. Overall, for anyone wanting to know more about dragonflies, this is a very good book and superb value for money."

Wildfowl and Wetlands Magazine

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