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Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) Paperback – January 8, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"I truly believe that if there is such a thing as the 'must-have' book, Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East is IT. . . . It contains all 336 species of Odonata that have been found in eastern North America. Not just dragons or just damsels, [but] all Odonata. That means ONE book for everything. It has excellent full-color photographs that are large enough to see many of coloration and patterns that are important. . . . The species accounts are well-done with reference to similar species when appropriate. The natural history summaries for genera are very good, and valuable information for any ode enthusiast."--Mark O'Brien, Michigan Odonotes blog

"This is a beautiful book, a joy to hold and to look at. Although it is a paperback, it is printed on sturdy glossy paper that will hold up well in the field. . . . [I] recommend it as an essential field guide to the dragonflies."--Devorah Bennu, GrrlScientist blog

"This is an excellent landmark field guide that belongs in every naturalist's collection."--Donna Schulman, 10,000 Birds

"[A] terrific volume that will be very popular among odonate enthusiasts in the East."--Choice

"[T]hese volumes are obviously authoritative, comprehensive and clearly designed with the needs of the naturalist in mind. The photographs are excellent and . . . the text makes up for the unavoidable shortcomings of a photo-guide by including full descriptions of each species. Altogether, these two volumes constitute a complete, highly informative and beautifully illustrated guide to the Odonata of North America."--Guy Padfield, UKbutterflies

From the Back Cover

"Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East is by far the most complete treatment of its kind. It is chock-full of interesting and useful information, and the illustrations are excellent. Paulson is one of the top experts in this field and his book reflects that extensive knowledge on every page."--Giff Beaton, author of Dragonflies and Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast

"Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East is superbly organized, concisely written, and beautifully illustrated. It combines the strengths of a field guide with the invaluable technical information of a manual. As such, the reader will have a strong tool in his or her possession. There really is no other book like it."--Allen E. Barlow, senior author of Field Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of New Jersey


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Product Details

  • Series: Princeton Field Guides
  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (January 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691122830
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691122830
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By D. Gregg on January 6, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Claimers and Dis-claimers: I've only spent a couple hours with this book and they were at my desk. Though I had specimens available they were not fresh specimens and I haven't taken this into the field yet (this is January after all). Though I've worked as a lackey on a couple of odonate projects, I'm an insect generalist not an odonate specialist.

This is definitely the best available comprehensive odonate guide for eastern North America. Advantages over Dunkle's Dragonflies Through Binocs include: the damselflies (for a start), plus MUCH better photos, detail photos and line drawings where helpful to illustrate key features, more species-to-species comparisons in both photos, text, and line art to help with difficult IDs, and more accessible and useful natural historical information on each species, often very helpful in determining species.

I can't make up my mind about the page layout. On the one hand, the species are consistently laid out, each with the same sections: Description, Identification, Natural History, Habitat, Flight Season, and Distribution. Each species account starts with a bar color-coded to the genus to draw your eye to the name (common name first, then scientific name in italics followed by measurements in mm). Also a range map and most have both male and female illustrated with large, bright, sharp, well oriented photos. The repetitive structure makes it relatively easy to jump around comparing the same information on each of two or more species that you're contemplating for an ID.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By ruff on July 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a nice field guide, and as for a comprehensive guide to BOTH dragons and damsels in the eastern region of North America, I believe it is the only one of such kind...that alone worthies it 3 stars! The information is good but a tad laborious and high brow, especially when compared to Beaton's Dragonflies and Damselflies of Georgia and the Southeast. However, this hardly warrants a markdown in reviewing the book. The pictures are where this book is wanting. They are quite small and often do not show the primary field marks that are described in the text. When one peruses the astounding number of wonderful photos available for most species for free on the internet, it makes you wonder why this book couldn't have come up with some better photos.

Also, for beginners, this book often requires one to turn page by page looking for a match to what one has seen or photographed...and this can take a long time. Not all species are easily ID'd as to group (skimmer, clubtail, etc.). However, this is a problem shared by all books of its kind I think...can't someone come up with a more intuitive way to organize dragons and damsels in a field guide?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael B. Harvey on December 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I took this book with me to Everglades National Park and spent a day identifying dragonflies using binoculars. The illustrations, descriptions, life history sections, and other parts of the species accounts are well written, very helpful and interesting. The introductory sections on morphology, ecology, etc. are well illustrated and engaging. I particularly liked a section where the author discusses holes in our knowledge about the biology of dragonflies. He encourages novices and professionals alike to help fill in these holes by reporting their observations. My biggest complaint is that the book lacks dichotomous keys to species. As the author emphasizes, sexing dragonflies is important for their identification. He certainly explains how to sex dragonflies, but the information about this is scattered. A section with an obvious heading "Sexing Dragonflies" should have been added to the introductions.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By George G. Sims on February 10, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dennis Paulson's new eastern book was well worth the wait, and odonate enthusiasts throughout the country have been anxiously awaiting this great new guide.

It is NOT a rehash of his western guide, but contains more detailed information on the species that are common to both areas. The illustrations are splendid, and the book is easy to use for the beginner, yet comprehensive enough for the more advanced odonatist.

If you could have only ONE odonate guide, I think THIS is the one. Covers both dragonflies and damselflies, and take odonate guidebooks to a new level.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By The Dragonhunter's Apprentice on August 14, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Dennis Paulson's Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East (Princeton Field Guides) is an excellent field guide in print form, with the content deserving 5 stars for its comprehensive and detailed coverage of the subject. Precisely because it is so comprehensive in content, it is necessarily large and heavy, making it cumbersome as a field guide. The Kindle Edition overcomes these size and weight issues, but appears to be sadly lacking in electronic field guide features. I find it very difficult to search and especially difficult to compare similar species in the Kindle Edition on my Android device. However, I am not very adept with Kindle and perhaps Amazon will soon improve the application to overcome my limitations. It would be particularly useful if there were smart search feature which used the species index and would quickly and easily record sightings with geotag, date, time, quantity, sex and optional notes/photos, etc. into a database. It would be especially convenient if the voice recognition dictionary were context sensitive, e.g. saying "Aeshna" gets it searching for "ice now" or "asiana" etc. so you have to type in Aeshna and even the text dictionary doesn't refer to the content, so there is no context sensitive predictive or corrective text feature. Another disappointing limitation of the Kindle Edition is that I can't zoom in on the photos. WYSIWYG?! Despite these limitations, which may be more mine than the book's, it is a great leap forward in Odonate field guides. It is now a constant field companion of mine.
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