Jill Silsby Dragonflies of the World

ISBN 13: 9781560989592

Dragonflies of the World

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9781560989592: Dragonflies of the World
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Presents a guide to dragonflies and their small relatives, damselflies, covering their life cycle, behavior, habitat, and structure.

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Review:

In this handsomely illustrated volume, entomologist Jill Silsby and a team of colleagues introduce readers to the little-explored world of dragonflies and their damselfly cousins, the order Odonata.

The odonates, Silsby writes, are among the oldest of the earth's living creatures, ancient even by the age of the dinosaurs. That they have survived while so many other species of the time did not hinges on several adaptations, including the development of large compound eyes, wings that move independently of one another, and a highly streamlined body shape, all of which have made odonates "superb hunting machines." Strictly carnivorous, dragonflies are also wide-ranging--some species have been known to travel across oceans--and are found in most parts of the world; one family, the Synlestidae, or sylphs, are distributed throughout southern Africa, Australia, China, and the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, but, strangely, nowhere in between. (For all its ubiquity, though, the dragonfly figures little in the world's art, literature, and mythology.) But all 6,000 species of dragonflies depend on one habitat in particular that is becoming ever more rare: clean, usually slow-moving bodies of water. The volume closes with a consideration of conservation measures that are needed if the odonates are to survive beyond the present age, including the establishment of protected areas worldwide.

A pleasure to read and constantly informative, this compendium makes a welcome addition to any nature buff's collection. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Jill Silsby served as Honorary Secretary of the British Dragonfly Society for eight years, was a founding member of the Worldwide Dragonfly Association and, since its foundation in 1997, has been its Honorary Secretary and Treasurer. She is author of Inland Birds of Saudi Arabia (1995).

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