Late last year and early this year, saw the publication of two field guides about Australian dragonflies. First off the press was Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Gold Coast by Damian White, Narelle Power and Chris Burwell. Then came the long-awaited 2nd edition of The Complete Field Guide to Dragonflies of Australia by Gunther Theischinger and John Hawking. Both books coincidentally have an image of the stunning Sapphire Rockmaster on their covers.
Dragonflies and Damselflies of the Gold Coast is a 100-page A5 book covering the 85 known species found on the Gold Coast and 21 other species that are known from within 100km. Each of the known species has a full page devoted to it, with stunning, large, live images showing the sexual dimorphism of male and female. The accompanied text provides information to assist with identification, including species description, habitat, key identification features, distribution and local record locations. Page colour coding for each family is a useful way to help navigate through the publication.
I’ve already used this book to easily identify three species I encountered for the first time on the Gold Coast. Although specific to this region, the book covers the vast majority of species you are likely to encounter within SEQ. What a great resource to have access to, and for only $15.
The 2nd edition of The Complete Field Guide to Dragonflies of Australia is a 400-page A5 book covering all known Australian species (approx.-330). The book provides a description for each family and genus. Each species has a description of adult and larva, with a distribution map and diagrams to assist with identification.
Image quality is variable, and most species are only represented by one adult image, some with images of the larva. Quite a few of the images are of preserved specimens. The book also provides detailed keys and diagrams in the back, to help with difficult identifications. New to this edition are coloured illustrations of some species by Albert Orr. It’s an impressive body of work.
Both books are high quality publications that complement each other and were a must for my ever-expanding field guide collection. The local field guide is now the go-to book for this interesting group of insects in our region. The complete field guide will come more in handy when I’m travelling further afield but is also useful to delve into further aspects of local species.
Review by Todd Burrows
Land for Wildlife Officer
City of Gold Coast