Selected for Excellence in Book Design by
the American Association of University Professors

A Dazzle of Dragonflies

Forrest L. Mitchell and James L. Lasswell

A Dazzle of Dragonflies is neither a field guide nor a scientific treatise, although the authors…are entomologists….More than a hundred dragonflies are pictured…Jeweled specimens decorate almost every page. The volume was designed to delight and inform amateur enthusiasts, and the remarkably detailed photographs do just that….The wonderfully written text is rich with detail and personal stories.”
American Scientist

A female Filigree Skimmer
Pseudoleon superbus).

From fossils and folklore to life cycles and the latest in digital imaging techniques, A Dazzle of Dragonflies will take you into the secret world of one of Earth’s most beneficial creatures. The guides are two of the most experienced and ardent fans of the "mosquitohawk," and your journey will include encounters with poets and prehistoric giants; peeks into hidden, watery universes; and side trips to garden ponds and scientific laboratories.

The stunning images of dragonflies in this book are incomparable to anything you have ever seen. Pioneers in the electronic imaging of insects, the authors share their spectacular scans of live dragonflies, enhanced with beautiful photographs that showcase them in their natural environment. Dragonflies, once only blurs of colors and wings, are displayed like never before.

Accompanying the images is a lively text chronicling dragonfly history, myths, evolution, biology, and ecology, and clarifying common misunderstandings about their nature. Imparting a lifelong passion for these remarkable creatures, the authors also ask us to join them in some hands-on activities to increase our awareness of and interaction with dragonflies—from tips on creating a dragonfly garden to instructions for catching, photographing, and scanning them.

Get ready to have your eyes opened by this true education about all things "dragonfly."

Rights available: World except Japan, Korea, and North America

A Flame Skimmer (Libellula saturate).


224 pages
130 color photographs
4 appendices
Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.8 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds

Forrest L. Mitchell is a Research Project Leader for the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and Associate Professor in the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University. His interest in dragonflies has been lifelong, but only recently did he find the opportunity to work on them.

James L. Lasswell is a Senior Research Associate with the Texas A&M University Agricultural Research Station. He and Mitchell have co-authored several articles on dragonflies.


“Dragonflies, those "mosquitohawk" denizens of wetlands, are the subject of this beautiful book. The authors, scientists at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, needed to identify dragonflies while working on a water?quality project. They invented a technique for using a flatbed scanner to create extremely detailed images of living dragonflies, which accurately reproduced their colors and anatomical details, and they created a Web site to display these images. This book grew out of their desire to promote greater awareness and understanding of these aerial predators. The first few chapters cover the folklore and fossil history of dragonflies, along with their natural history and daily lives. Watching dragonflies through binoculars and collecting them for study (much easier said than done!) each receive a section. Two extremely interesting chapters complete the text: one on water gardening to attract dragonflies, including rearing larvae in containers, and the other on photographic and digital scanning techniques. This is a passionate look at a ubiquitous group of insects."

". . . this volume provides a richly illustrated A to Z coverage of
odonates. The large format, hardcover edition is relatively inexpensive
for a book of its quality, with much to offer both amateur and
professional biologists."
The Quarterly Review of Biology

A Roseate Skimmer (Orthemis ferruginea).

". . . is indeed dazzling . . . quite well-written and exceptionally informative."
Houston Chronicle

". . . an enticing introduction to the natural history and appreciation of dragonflies."

"The book's primary impact is its attractive design, with 130 large, color images laid out in all their detail and glory. It is worth the reasonable purchase price simply to feast the eyes on these spectacular pictures. But there is much more . . . .This is a marvelous production. Get it, absorb the pictures, read it, and go out and enjoy the dazzling world of dragonflies."
Great Plains Research

"Who knows what twists of fate kept this wonderful book from becoming a field guide or reference title? Not that the subject isn't worthy of either. Instead, the dazzling appearance of these insects is treated in a grander manner, yielding a small coffee-table title that aptly shows off their natural beauty. The authors, entomologists clearly enamored of their subject, provide us with the information, background, and perspective that other treatments might have missed, while entertaining us with spectacular close-up photographs of diverse species. . . . A Dazzle of Dragonflies will provoke curiosity, inspiring more people to watch and wonder at these amazing insects."
Bloomsbury Review


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