On any warm summer day, you can easily observe damselflies around a vegetated pond or the rocks along the banks of a stream. Like the more familiar dragonfly, damselflies are among the most remarkably distinctive insects in their appearance and biology, and they have become one of the most popular creatures sought by avocational naturalists.
Damselflies of Texas is the first field guide dedicated specifically to the species found in Texas. It covers 77 of the 138 species of damselflies known in North America, making it a very useful guide for the entire United States. Each species account includes:
- illustrations of as many forms (male, female, juvenile, mature, and color morphs) as possible
- common and scientific names, with pronunciation
- distribution map
- key features
- identifying characteristics
- discussion of similar species
- status in Texas
- habitat, seasonality, and general comments
In addition to photographing damselflies in the wild, the author and illustrator have developed a new process for illustrating each species by scanning preserved specimens and digitally painting them. The resulting illustrations show detail that is not visible in photographs. The book also contains chapters on damselfly anatomy, life history, conservation, names, and photography, as well as a list of species that may eventually be discovered in Texas, state and global conservation rankings, seasonality of all species in chronological order, and additional resources and publications on the identification of damselflies.
John C. Abbott is Curator of Entomology for the Texas Natural Science Center at the University of Texas at Austin. He has published many papers on aquatic insects, including dragonflies and damselflies, and is the author of the more specialized volume Dragonflies and Damselflies of Texas and the South-Central United States.