Dragonflies of the North Woods (North Woods Naturalist Guides) Paperback – 31 Aug 2003
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The definition of an insect, according to "The Audubon Society Field Guide of North American Insects and Spiders" by Lorus and Margery Milne (1980), is "...an invertebrate animal...a...Phylum Arthropoda....Class Insecta." Concerning the insect dragonfly (translated from the Romanian name "Devil's Fly"), Mead states in his book, "Dragonflies and damselflies are....odonata...'toothed ones,' a reference to the...toothy lower lip...used to capture and hold prey.... 'Odonata'...coined by...Fabricius in 1793." The two suborders of odes are Dragonflies, or Anisoptera--meaning different wings, and Damselflies, or Zygoptera--denoting wings that are identical (discussion of the latter just touched on near the end of this volume).
Kurt's anatomy lesson on his "'Winged Dragons'" is replete with diagrams (including colour photos), and the essential facts, i.e., that a dragonfly has 30,000 lenses in one of their compound eyes. Following this is information on mating, their life cycle and behaviour. Every facet of observation/netting/collecting/photographing them are outlined, too.
All 102 dragonfly species of the North Woods are meticulously investigated here in Mead's work--Darners, Clubtails, Spiketails, Cruisers, Emeralds and Skimmers, respectively--accompanied by their scientific nomenclature in italics, that's later indexed, as well. Size-bars illustrate the insect's precise length on each gloriously coloured photo, with distinguishing characteristics singled out by fieldmark arrows. And phenograms are juxtaposed to the bottom of each photo, instructing us what terrain and months that specific dragonfly can be found.
This volume features a useful glossary, followed by a seven part appendix, which includes a checklist for each family/specie, list of world synonyms for dragonflies, phenology flight chart, addresses of odonata websites and groups, recommended titles (like "Beginners Guide to Dragonflies" by Blair Nikula and Jackie Sones with Donald and Lillian Stokes, 2002; but no mention of "Damselflies of the Northeast" by Ed Lam, 2004) and lastly, advice on the appropriate binoculars to use for "'Dragonflying.'"
"Dragonflies of the North Woods" by Kurt Mead is irresistibly comprehensive, so visit your bookseller soon to get your copy, where "Eden is heavy with the flutter of an insect's sombre mating call."