By: Wu Hongdao(Editor)
192 pages, colour photos
Language: Bilingual in English and Chinese
Until relatively recent times, dragonflies were studied by only a few entomologists, but in this new century they are receiving ever increasing attention from nature lovers all over the world. Many now derive great pleasure from the hobby of observing and photographing dragonflies, in the way they have long watched and photographed birds. Numerous new books introducing dragonflies, enabling their identification and reporting their regional or local diversity are being published in many countries.
The present book by Wu Hongdao is among the first of its kind from the mainland of China. The bilingual text is limited, but the superb colour photos provide an excellent introduction to the diverse and colourful world of south Chinese dragonflies. Although, the area of Huizhou City covers only 6% of the land area of Guangdong province and a tiny 0.11% of the whole of China, this area is home to at least 174 species of dragonflies – about 70% of species known from Guangdong and one quarter of the total Chinese dragonfly fauna. This is mainly because the area of Huizhou City includes several well preserved protected areas. The most famous is Nankunshan provincial reserve, which is especially rich in dragonfly species and has been particularly well studied. Within Huizhou City there are also suitable wetland habitats outside protected areas, in both lowlands and mountain.
The first book illustrating Chinese dragonflies was Edward Donovan's famous classic An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of China, published in London in 1798. Two of its 50 fine hand-coloured coppreengraved plates illustrate six dragonfly species. All of these, including the beautiful Neurobasis chinensis, the firs dragonfly from China and the whole of Asia to be scientifically named, are also to be founbed in Wu's book. Since the time of Donovan the world has changed in many ways. However, the beauty and diversity of insects continues to fascinate us, and books showcasing their splendor are still being published.
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