Cover image for Dragonflies of the world
Dragonflies of the world
Silsby, Jill.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
vii, 216 pages : illustrations (some color), map ; 26 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL520 .S56 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



"Today more than five thousand species of dragonflies inhabit six of the seven continents. Until now, the literature on these ancient insects has been narrowly defined by region. In Dragonflies of the World Jill Silsby provides a comprehensive worldwide guide to the order Odonata, describing the unique attributes of dragonflies in general and the distinctive features of individual families and subfamilies." "Divided into two suborders, Odonata includes dragonflies and damselflies. Beyond their intriguing appearance, they appeal to humans because they neither bite nor sting, they eat other insects, and their presence is a good indication that a water source is clean and free of pollution. With contributions from leading entomologists, Dragonflies of the World introduces readers to these and other traits and provides information on distribution patterns, life cycles and habitat, behavior, and general appearance, as well as evolutionary history, taxonomy, and conservation efforts. A key chapter describes specific dragonfly families and subfamilies. The book contains full-color photographs of more than three hundred species, all of which are identified by their scientific and common names. Also included are a glossary and common names index, a comprehensive bibliography, and a directory of dragonfly societies worldwide." "This fully illustrated, comprehensive guide will be a welcome volume for both amateur naturalists and professional entomologists."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Author Notes

Jill Silsby, a board member of the World Dragonfly Association, is the author of Inland Birds of Saudi Arabia (1995)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Dragonflies are magnificent insects--large, predatory bugs that anyone can recognize. Their somewhat fearsome appearance and inquisitive nature makes them obvious to even the most oblivious to nature. Dragonflies and their smaller relatives, damselflies, are also among the most ancient of living animals, having arisen some 300 million years ago. Silsby addresses both interested amateurs and experienced zoologists. Introductory chapters reveal the evolution of dragonflies, their life cycle, structure, and behavior. The bulk of the book is a look at the damselflies and dragonflies of the world. The approximately 6,000 species are divided into 29 families, and each family is discussed separately, with general facts about ecology, behavior, and appearance. Superb color photographs illustrate the text; in fact, this is the first book to illustrate at least one species from every family and subfamily of these insects. A glossary of the somewhat exotic terms used to describe dragonflies, along with a list of dragonfly societies, completes a book that, despite its steep price, belongs in every library. --Nancy Bent

Choice Review

Dragonflies are second only to butterflies in their beauty and popularity with amateur entomologists. Even among those fearful of insects, the rapid acrobatics of dragonflies over a pond on a summer's day soon win begrudging admiration. These are amazing creatures, as this book demonstrates in stunning color photographs and readable text. More than a field guide and something thankfully less than an encyclopedia, Silsby's book provides a nice balance between detail and overview. All of the dragonfly and damselfly families are pictured, as are remarkable aspects of their natural history: flight, territoriality, varied and sometimes strange habits, and geographical distribution. Marginalia keep the reader from getting lost in the taxonomy of this varied and diverse set of insects. With more than 340 photographs, ten drawings, and several graphs, this lavishly illustrated work will find its way to coffee tables as well as library shelves. A glossary of more than 120 entries, a list of dragonfly societies around the world, a species and general index, and a bibliography of nearly 40 entries will help encourage others to take up the study of these wondrous insects. All levels. G. Stevens formerly, University of New Mexico

Table of Contents

Georg RuppellPeter MillerJohn TruemanStephen ButlerNorman Moore
Forewordp. iii
Preface and acknowledgementsp. vi
1. Introductionp. 1
2. Today's Odonatap. 7
3. Life cyclep. 13
4. The perfect hunting machinep. 31
5. Lords of the airp. 43
6. Colour and polymorphismp. 49
7. Territory and reproductionp. 55
8. Habitats and refugiap. 65
9. Odonata around the worldp. 71
10. Evolutionary riddlesp. 185
11. Artificial rearingp. 191
12. Conservationp. 195
Glossaryp. 199
Dragonfly societiesp. 202
Bibliographyp. 203
Index of speciesp. 205
General indexp. 211