Dragons & Damsels An Identification Guide to the British & Irish Odonata


This is a comprehensive and user-friendly photographic identification guide to all species, sexes and forms of British and Irish dragon- and damselflies, with essential field notes and habitat photographs.


In the main, most field guides follow the same pattern, with species accounts laid out in taxonomic sequence. The new guide by Adrian Riley does indeed have two chapters of species accounts covering damselflies and then dragonflies separately. Where this new guide differs, however, is in its approach to the identification of individual insects.

Again, damselflies and dragonflies have their own chapters, but within these, species are grouped according to their appearance, with males and females often treated separately due to their differing colours and patterns. This makes sense when you understand that early dragonfly observers actually thought that, for example, male and female Banded Demoiselles were of two different species because they looked so dissimilar.

Adrian Riley’s meticulous approach to each species, sex and colour-form throughout the book should leave no-one in doubt of an identification. There is no question at all that this new guide, with its fresh approach, detailed descriptions and clear photographs, will find a place on the bookshelf of many dragonfly watchers and recorders, no matter how experienced. – Dr Pam Taylor, British Dragonfly Society

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