Dragonflies are an ideal group of insects for the naturalist to study. They are beautiful and fascinating and can be observed in the field much as a bird-watcher observes birds. Their observation can be exceptionally interesting and amply rewarding. Moreover, the dragonfly’s life is dramatically divided by sudden stages. Its immature stage is quite unlike the adult. It even lives in a different medium for dragonfly larvae nearly all aquatic while the adults are all terrestrial. The adult stage often lasts less than one-twentieth of the dragonfly’s whole life.
We are fortunate in having in Britain forty-three species – representatives of eight of the eleven largest and most widespread families of dragonflies and these provide the subject of an intensive study by the three distinguished naturalists who are responsible for the present volume.
Philip S. Corbet, now engaged in biological research in Uganda, first became interested in dragonflies as a schoolboy ‘because they were such good sport to catch’ and subsequently obtained his Ph.D. degree for a thesis entitled The Seasonal Ecology of Dragonflies. Miss Cynthia Longfield was for many years on the staff of the British Museum (Natural History) and is the well-known author of The dragonflies of the British Isles. N. W. Moore also obtained his Ph.D degree for a thesis on The Ecology and Behaviour of Adult Dragonflies and is now the Nature Conservancy’s regional officer for South-west England.
These naturalists have produced a most useful history and definitive account of the British dragonflies, a book for every kind of student of insects from the amateur collector and insect watcher to the professional.