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A Dazzle of Dragonflies Hardcover – April 20, 2005


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Dragonflies, those "mosquitohawk" denizens of wetlands, are the subject of this beautiful book. The authors, scientists at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, needed to identify dragonflies while working on a water--quality project. They invented a technique for using a flatbed scanner to create extremely detailed images of living dragonflies, which accurately reproduced their colors and anatomical details, and they created a Web site to display these images. This book grew out of their desire to promote greater awareness and understanding of these aerial predators. The first few chapters cover the folklore and fossil history of dragonflies, along with their natural history and daily lives. Watching dragonflies through binoculars and collecting them for study (much easier said than done!) each receive a section. Two extremely interesting chapters complete the text: one on water gardening to attract dragonflies, including rearing larvae in containers, and the other on photographic and digital scanning techniques. This is a passionate look at a ubiquitous group of insects. Nancy Bent
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Review

“The digital scans of living dragonflies offer an unparalleled view of these beautiful insects. . . Authors Mitchell and Lasswell have assembled an enormous amount of useful and interesting information on dragonflies as well as offering practical advise for field and laboratory work”--John and Gloria Tveten, authors of Our Life with Birds: A Nature Trails Book
(John and Gloria Tveten, authors of Our Life with Birds: A Natur)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press; First Edition edition (April 20, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585444596
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585444595
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #434,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 77 people found the following review helpful By speak04 on August 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
As soon as I heard this book was being released, I was dying to buy it. The authors have pioneered a method of scanning dragonflies on standard flatbed scanners and have produced some magnificent images of these insects, which they display online. As an entomologist and a woman fascinated by dragonflies, I have always admired their work and knew this book would be gorgeous if nothing else. I was not disappointed. The photos and scans of dragonflies in this book are spectacular. Even people who are squeamish of bugs could learn to appreciate the beauty of these magnificent insects after reading this book. Aside from the lovely images, the book also contains some very interesting information about dragonflies. I am particularly fond of the chapter called Dragonfly Tales, which covers dragonfly myths and folklore in more detail than I've seen in any other dragonfly book to date. Other chapters cover information rarely included in other books such as imaging, gardening for, and collecting dragonflies. It also discusses more commonly covered topics such as dragonfly life histories, structure, evolution, and development.

This is an impressive collection of amazing images and interesting, rarely published information. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in dragonflies, novice and expert alike.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jerry K. Hatfield on December 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Texas nature writer, Ro Wauer, reviewed this book in July 2005 and described it as a book on dragonflies and damselflies. Well, the former is the case but the latter does not apply. The authors themselves make no such claims, but suggest any use of damselfly photos or references to them is merely for comparison's sake. That being said, the book is excellent and unique for format and photographic technique used. The flatbed scanned photos of scintillating dragonflies up-close-and-personal, is one of a kind. Finally, there is a book that is beginning to give dragonflies their due as relates to their splendid detail, coloring, and overall beauty! I was particularly impressed as well with the etymological study on the word "dragonfly"; I've not seen this very interesting and most imformative material presented in any other book on dragonflies until now. The book is well worth the price many times over. In fact, don't just get one copy! It is destined to be a classic gift item that will be treasured for years.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Joe K. on December 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a fantastic book - everything you wanted to know about dragonflies, with pictures! There are pages and pages of gorgeous photographs and lots of interesting information about dragonflies, from science to folklore. I would highly recommend this book to anyone with interest in these beautiful insects.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John Hall on January 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a "coffee table book" rather than a field guide. It provides a wonderful reference and background for those interested in dragonflies and damselflies. It is slanted towards those species occurring in the Southwestern United States, but includes species found elsewhere. It is nicely illustrated with computer scans and photographs of these insects, and of their habitats and interactions with other animals. There are chapters on observation, photography, and collection along with information on their role in various cultures.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Donald Fritz on January 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I expected a gorgeous book full of professional pictures, I was rewarded with an entertaining overview that left me with greater perspective and general knowledge of our primitive friends. The photography is innovative, using office equipment to solve a technical problem in using standard cameras in the field, and , in the process, producing a unique set of beautiful, precise, jewel-like images. A very rewarding book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on January 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An amnazingly beautiful pictorial review of dragonflies. The information provided in this book is perfect for someone who appreciates the beauty and serenity the presence of dragonflies brings to the soul.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Laura E. Lindler on December 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had this book on my wish list since before it was published, but kept putting off ordering it, so I was thrilled to find it under my Christmas tree this year. I've almost finished the book (started it last night). What I love about this book: the photography is awesome, the writing is good (not a dry manual) and it delves into dragonfly folklore of different countries. I think this book would be appropriate for a reader as young as 10 yo (a slightly advanced reader, maybe) as well as adults interested in dragonflies. The book covers dragonfly fossil records, water-gardening to attract dragonflies, helpful photography techniques, collecting and preserving specimens and best of all, collecting dragonfly nymphs and raising them to adulthood. This book is not a field manual, however, it explains some of the things that field manuals do not, along with photographs that clearly demonstrate the text. I have a pond in my back yard and have been photographing and identifying dragonflies as a hobby for a couple of years. I also like to draw dragonflies, so this book is invaluable to me in all these endeavors.I would not hesitate to recommend this book to others who enjoy interacting with Odonata.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David B. Hansen on May 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Forrest Mitchell and James Laswell's labor of love, "A Dazzle of Dragonflies", accomplishes a feat that any science exhibit hopes to do: hook the viewer with visual flair, and then pique their interest with previously mundane data. This method of exhibition is applicable for exotic or esoteric subjects, such as Himalayan vistas or microscopic bacteria activity, but it also holds well for specimens more acquainted with the viewer's scope of life. In Mitchell and Laswell's case, the elusive but omnipresent dragonfly is given the runway treatment.
"Dazzle" aims to give the reader a comprehensive introduction to dragonfly study; their place in folklore, the fossil record, their internal mechanisms, their behavior. But "Dazzle" is not just a study book for aspiring entomologists- Mitchell and Laswell also offer advice on capturing, luring, and photographing the famously elusive Odonata.
Photographic advice from the authors should certainly be heeded, as it is apparent from the first page that the photos of dragonflies are simply stunning. Every color of the abdomen, the compound eye, even the vein system of the wing are rendered with remarkable clarity. A perusal of the pictures in the hardcover edition justifies the hefty price tag.
The pictures may be intended to be the visual hook that snares the reader, but the excellent introductory chapters assure the reader's attention. After a brief introductory chapter, "Dazzle" veers to a sociological aside and studies the myths and folklore of several different cultures regarding dragonflies. This is a humanistic quality that is absent from many science books.
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