Finding out more about dragonflies


The British Dragonfly Society logoThe British Dragonfly Society (BDS)
The BDS aims to promote and encourage the study and conservation of dragonflies and their natural habitats, especially in the United Kingdom.
(Contact details for local representatives of the Dragonfly Recording Network (DRN) can also be found on the same website)

The Dragonfly Project
The Dragonfly Project is a separate charity running dragonfly safaris and education courses. It currently operates from Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire, from May to September.

Field Courses

The Field Studies Council runs courses on dragonflies and damselflies.

Identification Guides

Smallshire, D. & Swash, A. 2004. Britain’s Dragonflies. WildGuides. (Features multi-photo montages of all UK species as well as keys to females and larval stages)

Brooks, S. & Lewington, R. 2004. Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Great Britain and Ireland. 4th edition, British Wildlife Publishing. (Contains clear and detailed drawings of all adults as well as a key to larval stages)

Powell, D. 1999. A Guide to the Dragonflies of Great Britain. Arlequin Press. (Gives beautiful artist’s impressions of dragonflies and damselflies in their natural postures).

Dragonfly Biology and Ecology

Corbet, P.S. 1999. Dragonflies – Behaviour and Ecology of Odonata. Harley Books. (The ultimate book for those serious about dragonflies)

Species information

Merritt, R. & Vick, G. S. 1983. Is Sympetrum nigrescens Lucas a good species? Journal of the British Dragonfly Society: 1: 7-8.

Habitat creation and management for dragonflies

BDS. 1993. Managing Habitats for Dragonflies. British Dragonfly Society. (This booklet can be ordered via the BDS website)

BDS. 1993. Dig a Pond for Dragonflies. British Dragonfly Society. (Orders via the BDS website)


M. Jill Lucas. [2002]. Spinning Jenny & Devil’s Darning Needle. M. J. Lucas.

Distribution maps and Atlases

Merrit, R., Moore, N.W. & Eversham, B.C. 1996. Atlas of the dragonflies of Britain and Ireland. The Stationery Office. (This was the last UK Atlas; now out of print but available in libraries)

Nelson, B. & Thompson, R. (2004) The Natural History of Ireland’s Dragonflies. Belfast: Ulster Museum.

There are many regional or county atlases (details available from the BDS website)