Dragonflies of India: A Field Guide

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About the Book   The First photographic field guide to 111 Indian dragonflies and damselflies for the first time.   English common names introduced to Indian dragonflies and damselflies for the first time.   Field key for identification of laravae and adults.   Over 200 clear photographs for accurate and quick identification.   Concise text provides information on key characteristics and...

About the Book


The First photographic field guide to 111 Indian dragonflies and damselflies for the first time.


English common names introduced to Indian dragonflies and damselflies for the first time.


Field key for identification of laravae and adults.


Over 200 clear photographs for accurate and quick identification.


Concise text provides information on key characteristics and ecology of each species.


Reviewed by eminent entomolgists and field biologists.


About the Author


K.A. Subramanian studied stream insect communities of the Western Ghats for his doctoral thesis. Currently he is a DST-Young Scientist at Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and studies the evolution and community ecology of India odonates.




Dragonflies and damsel flies are amongst the most attractive of creatures on ea) the first to have conquered the aerial domain. Yet we know little of their diver: in India. Indeed most of the species are yet to be described, but they are around us, their nymphs key predators in water, the adults, the scourge of gnats and midges. If we get to know them better, we will surely become more concerned with their welfare. That, in turn would mean broader support for our effort conserve, and prudently use, India's rich heritage of biodiversity.


This is the aim of Project Life scape, and the VP-ARI collaboration, to help Indi know more of the wealth of life around us. This is in part the function of illustrated field guides. In addition we hope to suggest scientific problems of interest t students or amateur naturalists could tackle and contribute to furthering, understanding of Indian ecology.


With this in view, we have published three books: on butterflies, fishes; amphibians of peninsular India. Here is the fourth in the series, on dragonflies and damselflies, being eo-published with Vigyan Prasar. This book is the prod of the enthusiasm, interest and energy of a young natural Dr. K.A. Subramanian. Fortunately, Vigyan Prasar will make this book avails on their website as well. Since the web is becoming more and more accessil even in rural India, this web based version should further increase the read the material.


I sincerely hope that this attractive book would reach out to nature lovers, Young and old, all over India, and would be most grateful for any and all manner of feedback.




The wings of dragonflies and damselflies (odonates) flag the triumph of insects over land and air. The ancestors of extant odonates date back to carboniferous era, about 250 million years ago. Odonates are primarily aquatic insects and their life history is closely linked to specific aquatic habitats. This habitat specificity makes them a good indicator of wetland health. India with its unique geography and diverse bioclimatic regions, support a rich odonate fauna. Thanks to the work of Fraser, the Indian odonate fauna is well documented in his monumental work-The Fauna of British India-Odonata (1933-1936). The three volumes of the fauna describe 536 species and sub-species within Indian region. Though the Indian odonate fauna is well known taxonomically, natural history and ecology is documented only of a few species. Even basic facts such as geographic and seasonal distribution of most of the species are barely known.


This poor documentation of natural history and ecology of odonates is largely due to non-availability of simple identification guides. The currently available books are highly technical and inaccessible to students and amateur naturalists. The consequence of this vacuum is very well reflected in popular natural history articles and documentaries, where many beautiful odonates are just labeled as “dragonflies” or “damselflies”.


The first effort to popularize dragonfly studies in India was the launching of an e-book on dragonflies and damselflies of the peninsular India. The e-book was part of Project Lifescape of Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science and Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore. Online availability of the book generated much enthusiasm among naturalists and played a crucial role in the development of an e-mail discussion forum on Indian odonates ( The insights and enthusiasm developed through this group was crucial in the development of the current field guide. This revised field guide covers species from eastern and western Himalayas and peninsular India and provides description and photographs of III species belonging to 13 families. Some species are rare and few of them are restricted to certain habitats or geographic locations. Odonates are integral part of wetland ecosystems and are reliable indicators of its health. The field guide is aimed at high school and undergraduate students, and amateur naturalists. I hope that this illustrated field guide will encourage students and naturalists to start observing odonates and document their distribution and natural history in different parts of India. This will surely help in better documentation of freshwater biodiversity and conservation of our fast vanishing wetlands.





Publishers Note












Natural History of Dragonflies and Damselflies



Studying Odonates



Field key to adult dragonflies and damselflies



Key to the larvae of dragonflies and damselflies



Dragonflies (Anisoptera)



Club Tails (Gomphidae)



Darners (Aeshnidae)



Mountain Hawks (Cordulegasteridae)



Torrent Hawks (Corduliidae)



Skimmers (Libellulidae)



Damselflies (Zygoptera)



Marsh Darts (Coenagrionidae)



Bush Darts (Platycenemididae)



Reed Tails (Platysrictidae)



Bamboo Tails (Protoneuridae)



Spread Wings (Lestidae)



Giant Spread Wings (Synlestidae)



Glories (Calopterygidae)



Stream Jewels (Chlorocyphidae)



Torrent Darts (Euphaeidae)






Glossary of terms



Checklist of Indian Draganflies and Damselflies



Index to Common Names



Index to Scientific Names



Sample Pages

Item Code: NAJ366 Author: K.A. Subramanian Cover: Paperback Edition: 2009 Publisher: Vigyan Prasar ISBN: 9788174801920 Language: English Size: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch Pages: 180 (Throughout Color Illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 305 gms
Price: $20.00
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