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Dragonflies of North America, revised edition
By James G. Needham, Minter J. Westfall, Jr., Michael L. May
Scientific Publishers, Inc., 2000
ISBN: 0945417942
Cite: 73259
This tricky-to-find, heavy, and expensive book is the definitive book on North American dragonflies. All the Anisoptera of the U.S., Canada, the Greater Antilles, and the northern tier of Mexican states are covered. Not the kind of hefty book one would use as a field guide (although I do carry it in a backpack sometimes), but there are several important features that make this guide absolutely indispensible to anyone serious about dragonfly identification:

-Names, detailed descriptions, and illustrations for all the external features of a dragonfly adult and larva (including detailed diagrams of wing venation, thoracic patterns, and genitalia)
-Dichotomous keys to families, genera, and species including adults and larvae
-Separate section for each family (and Libellulid subfamily) and genus (and Gomphus subgenus), each with a representative illustration of wing venation for the group, plus numerous black-and-white photos, drawings, and diagrams of body features (referenced in the keys) useful in identification
-Detailed species accounts including measurements in mm, list of illustrations found in the book and in other books, and for many groups, illustrations of the male cerci
-Extensive glossary and bibliography

The main drawback to this book is that there are only 24 color plates - 14 plates of drawings (covering most of the Aeshnidae, Gomphidae, Cordulegastridae, and some of the Corduliinae) and 10 plates of photographs - so not every dragonfly is illustrated. However, the wealth of information in this book more than makes up for this shortcoming, and in any case color illustrations of the dragonflies can be easily found in the many regional guides available.

Third edition
There is a third edition published in 2014, ISBN 0945417993. It is updated but lacks color illustrations.

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