Dragonflies are a beautiful, important and conspicuous component of freshwater, whether still or flowing. They are also important indicators of freshwater quality and condition, which is significant for current and future conservation initiatives in South Africa. The country's dragonflies are particularly interesting as many are special or endemic to the area, making it a part of the world of great conservation significance. Sadly however, many of these endemic species are highly threatened, especially by invasive alien trees which shade out their habitat.
This book is about this exciting dragonfly fauna. Besides aiming at increasing awareness of these lovely and sensitive insects, it enables their identification, using several approaches, from simple flick-through to the use of comprehensive identification keys. Each species is also given a Dragonfly Biotic Index, covering a spectrum from the most common, widespread and tolerant species through to the most threatened, rare and sensitive ones.
Preface 5 - Introducing dragonflies 6 - What are dragonflies? 6 - Life cycle 7 - Ecology 12 - Habitats 14 - Microhabitats 17 - Comments on species names 18 - Interesting dragonfly areas 18 - Conservation 19 - Threatened species 21 - Dragonfly societies and networks 21 - Field Techniques 21 - Observation hints 21 - Choosing binoculars 22 - Collecting and storing dragonflies 22 - Photographing dragonflies 23 - Size and colours 24 - Identifying females 24 - Dragonfly structure 25 - General body plan 25 - Head 25 - Thorax 26 - Wings 27 - Abdomen 27 - Sexual structures 28 - Field guidelines 29 - Abbreviations used in keys and Species accounts 29 - Damselfly and dragonfly size guide 29 - QUICK-KEY to main colour groups in the field 30 - Species Accounts 44 - How to name your dragonfly 44 - Demoiselles family Calopterygidae 46 - Jewels family Chlorocyphidae - Malachites family Synlestidae - Spreadwings family Lestidae - Featherlegs family Platycnemididae 66 - Threadtails family Protoneuridae 70 - Pond Damsels family Coenagrionidae 72 - Hawkers family Aeshnidae 112 - Clubtails - family Gomphidae 123 - Emeralds family Corduliidae 137 - Skimmers family Libellulidae 145 - Additional photographs 204 - Species key 214 - Checklist 283 - Bibliography 289 - Glossary 286 - INDEX 293
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Michael Samways is Professor and Chair of the Department of Conservation Ecology and Entomology, Stellenbosch University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa and a Fellow of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has published 260 scientific papers and written several books on insect biology and conservation, the most recent of which is Insect Diversity Conservation, Cambridge University Press. He has won several awards, and in the last two years, these include the Stellenbosch University Rector's Award for Research Excellence, the John Herschel Medal from the Royal Society of South Africa, and the Senior Captain Scott Medal from the South African Academy for Science and Art.