Author(s): Pieter Van Dokkum
Almost without our noticing, dragonflies dart through our world, flying, seeing, hunting, mating. Their lives are as mysterious as their gossamer wings are beautiful. In this book Pieter van Dokkum reveals many of the dragonfly's secrets, capturing the stages of this striking insect's life cycle in unprecedented close-up photographs. He documents scenes of dragonfly activity seldom witnessed and rarely photographed. The book begins on a moonlit summer night, when an alien-looking larva crawls out of the water and transforms into a fully formed dragonfly. In the following chapters we witness dew-covered dragonflies sparkling in the morning sun, then a pair of mating dragonflies moving through the air in a twelve-legged, eight-winged dance. In the final chapter, one generation dies as the next prepares to leave the water and begin its own winged journey. Each stage is documented through van Dokkum's inquisitive lens and accompanied by information on various species of dragonflies and damselflies, their metamorphosis, and their ecological importance as insect predators.
Pieter van Dokkum is Sol Goldman Family Professor of Astronomy and chair of the Astronomy Department at Yale University. He is a regular user of the world's most powerful telescopes, and his astronomical images have been widely published. He is also an expert in insect photography, with a focus on dragonflies. He lives in New Haven, CT.