Below are some useful links for those studying Odonata in Ohio. Rather than make an extensive (and hard-to-maintain) listing of links here, please note that several of these sites have extensive pages of links of their own:

Website Description
OdonataCentral This is the "Master" Site for Odonata in the US.  The Ohio Odonata Database is being transferred here and soon you will be able to generate "live" maps of Ohio Odonata from this site.  Also included is an extensive bibliography, lists of links, a photo gallery, field guides and more.  You can print out county lists as well.  As of June, 2006, the data on the site was the same as the maps on the OOS site, however in the near future the Odonata Central Database will be within one year of the current OOS database.
International Odonata Research Institute  

Links, book and equipment sales, regional, national and international Odonata societies.

University of Puget Sound  

Extensive site, many images, links and worldwide species links.

Digital Dragonflies Wonderful images!
Michigan Odonata Survey Our neighbors to the north.
Ohio Biological Survey  

Umbrella organization for biodiversity research in Ohio.

Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Division of Wildlife Sponsor of the Ohio Odonata Survey.
Ohio Lepidopterists The "other" popular insect order.
Dragonfly Listserve  

Go to this site to join the Dragonfly Listserve - you will become part of a daily email discussion of various topics concerning Odonata. If it gets too intense, there's always the delete key. You can also unsubscribe from this site. You might want to view the archived messages at this site to see if you want to subscribe.

Book Lists

Below are a number of books of interest to those working with Odonata. In each case I have tried to indicate an online source for the book, with preference given to sites maintained by the authors or publishers themselves. Listing of any site here does not constitute an endorsement, a guarantee that they are nice people (although most are), that they will not rip you off, that they do not employ slave labor, that they don't pick the wings off darners, that they don't pick their noses, that their profits (hah!) are invested wisely, etc. If all else fails, you can always go to Amazon. Or you could patronize your local bookstore.



Glotzhober, R.C.  and D. McShaffrey (Editors).  2002.  The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Ohio.  Ohio Biological Survey Bulletin New Series Volume 14 Number 2.  ix + 364 p. Reprints Only!  $65 plus shipping and handling and Ohio Tax.

This book, described more fully here, is a complete guide to the Odonata of Ohio.  It has color photographs of about 1/2 of the species known from the state, as well as revised and state-specific keys (adults to species, larvae to genus), distribution maps, species descriptions, information on habitat, biology, ecology, behavior, etc.  There are also chapters on collecting techniques, natural history, and the history of Odonata collecting in Ohio.  The book can be ordered from the Ohio Biological Survey:
Although all copies of the original printings are gone, high quality reprints are still availabe; these are printed as they are ordered.

Ohio Coverage - Comprehensive as of 2002 (164 species)


In 2002, Larry Rosche, Jacquelyn Haley, Jennifer Brumfield and Kevin Metcalf combined on The Dragonflies and Damselflies of Northeastern Ohio. An excellent book for Northeastern Ohio - very usable and portable; illustrations that really capture the essence of the field characters. Sadly out-of-print, but if you find a copy, buy it!  More detailed review here.

Ohio Coverage - Excellent - 124/164 species

Fortunately, Larry wasn't done - he put together a new team and they came up with a bigger, better book! This one is still available, and especially with the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Ohio now available only by reprint, this has become the "bible" of most dragonfly enthusiasts in the state. As opposed to the DDO, this book relies on photos and color illustrations to help the reader ID living specimens. The photos are large, there are usually several views (usually both male and female are illustrated), there are flightlines, and there are county maps for northeastern Ohio. The new book retains the spiral binding, is very durable, and great to use on the desk - it's probably a bit big to carry in the field.

Larry Rosche, Judy Semroc and Linda Gilbert (2008). A Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Northeast Ohio, 2nd Edition. Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Ohio Coverage - More Excellent - 140/164 species



New in 2011, Dennis Paulson's book covering the east (a previous volume tackled the west) is a great, comprehensive guide. There are 336 species covered; these should include all the Ohio species you are likely to find. There are good, reasonably sized color photos, maps to the county level (approximately) and flight seasons (because of the range of areas included, from Florida to Canada, these are not as useful as they are in more local guides - of course global warming is messing them ALL up). There are line drawings which can help the more experienced naturalist (if he or she has the specimen in hand and a hand lens) distinguish between tricky species.

I have both the paper bound and the Kindle edition of this book. Both are pretty useful. The paperback version is probably too heavy to really be a field guide, at least if you get vary far from the car and/or are carrying a lot of camera gear. The Kindle version shows some promise. A hardbound version is available as well from Princeton University Press (link below, their image to the left).

Although Dennis is based in Washington State, he is well known among dragonfly students in the east and has done extensive fieldwork here.

Ohio Coverage - Comprehensive

   These two books are the 'bibles" for North American Odonata.  They are complete in scope, with keys to all species of adults and many of the larvae, along with detailed descriptions.  There are a number of color plates, but you can't use these books to "picture key" a specimen in the hand.  These are the books you haul out for difficult specimens in the lab.  Invaluable references, but pricey.  Order them from Bill Mauffrey at IORI.  The damselfly book should be revised in 2006, the dragonfly book a few years later (due out January 2013). 


Ohio Coverage - Comprehensive

Jim Curry's book on Indiana Dragonflies is beautiful and useful.  The color photos are great!  Of the 115 species of dragonflies known from Ohio, Jim's book has 90 of them, plus an additional 7 we don't see in Ohio.   There are keys and county-level maps (for Indiana). I can't find it on the Franklin website anymore (Jim's retired), but you can still get it from the Indiana Academy of Science.


Ohio Coverage - Excellent - 90/115 species  (Dragonflies)

I'm eagerly waiting for my 2 copies of this book, having had a chance to examine it (and work with Ed in the field) at the 2006 DSA meeting.  The illustrations are incredible, and the book is comprehensive for Ohio, although the county distribution maps only include the eastern 1/2 of Ohio.  Order by mail from Biodiversity Books; go to the website below to get the order form.  While you are at the site, check out the contents of the book, other information and pictures of Odonata and Lepidoptera, and just admire Ed's work.

Ohio Coverage - Comprehensive (damselflies, 49 of 49 species + 20 additional species)  County-level distribution for the eastern 1/2 of Ohio)

If you want to "picture key" a dragonfly you've caught, or identify a dragonfly through binoculars (difficult for those which don't perch!) then this is the book for you.  We all complain about the small pictures (they are so good you want to see them larger) but no one complains about the price - the smaller size allowed the publisher to keep the costs down.  Sid has Ohio connections and many of the pictures are from Ohio specimens, increasing its utility here.

Buy it locally (many bookstores, bird stores, nature centers stock it) or through Amazon (link here since I "borrowed" their photo).

Ohio Coverage - Comprehensive (Dragonflies)

A handy little book, covers most of the common species of dragonflies and damselflies you might encounter in Ohio.  Small enough to take into the field.  Very useful and relatively inexpensive.  Order it directly from Blair at:

Ohio Coverage - Good - 85 of 164 species, + additional 20 species.

Seemingly more restricted in scope than the book above, Blair's other effort is actually very useful in Ohio.  It misses our southern-leaning species, and confuses us with some northern forms that we don't see, but it is very well-done.  Most of the photos are large and well-done, and the book is particularly sturdy with spiral binding and heavy-duty coated pages that should stand up well to use in the field. Order it from the Massachusetts Natural Heritage Program at the link below:

Ohio Coverage - Very Good -  127 of 164 species + 39 additional species.

The North Woods in this case are the north woods of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and northwestern Ontario.  A very handy book with photos, descriptions, flightlines, scale bars, etc. all on one (or a facing) page. Every species is illustrated with one or more color photos; the photos are relatively large.  Many are spectacular, but a few have not reproduced well.  A useful addition to your library.  There is also a damselfly guide by Robert DuBois which is also very good  You can order the dragonfly book directly from Kurt at:

And the damselfly book from Robert at:


Ohio Coverage - Good (dragonflies - 79 of 115 species + 28 additional species) (dragonfly book)


This is not an ID book!  Rather, it is an assemblage of much of what is known about the biology, ecology, behavior and other aspects of damselflies and dragonflies.  Pricey, hard to read, but chock full of information, although even there you will need access to a well-stocked library or interlibrary loan to make the best use of this book.  Probably easiest to order from Amazon.  Maybe a book you want your library to get!



The authors of this book pioneered the technique of scanning live dragonflies and posted many wonderful images on the net.  I'm waiting for my copy.  Order it from the publisher at:,196.aspx


This book helps take those of us in Ohio for a trip around the world to see the odes of other countries.  Also has a lot of useful natural history information.  The former is explored at the family level with color photos and accounts of special adaptations and behaviors in each family.  The natural history information is well illustrated with excellent color photos.  There is also information about the fossil history and evolution of dragonflies.  Very readable, more accessible (but far less comprehensive) than Corbet.  My copy cost about $40
Like the book above, Steve Brooks takes us through the world of Odonates (he and Jill both use "dragonfly" in the British sense to include what we call dragonflies and damselflies together - I propose a deal - we'll start using dragonflies in their sense if they will stop calling soccer "football" even though soccer is more football than football).  Some incredible photographs - but again, not a field guide.
So - which books to get?  I've kind of listed them in the order I would buy them if my goal were to identify dragonflies in Ohio.  Now, the Ohio book would be enough for that; I find the other books useful in that they will have other illustrations and photographs that may help identify a particular specimen in the hand.  Dragonflies and Damselflies of Northeast Ohio is by far the best if you are out in the field; it won't have all the species in the southern part of the state, but will get the most common ones. Paulson's book is great. The two North American books are certainly comprehensive, but if I were an amateur I would skip over them at first in favor of a few of the books lower on the list such as Dragonflies of Indiana or Ed Lam's Damselflies of the Northeast. Sid Dunkle's Dragonflies Through Binoculars is a must have, but be sure to pay attention to the range maps or you'll be finding species from the pacific northwest in your Marion, Ohio backyard!  Blair's two books are very useful, and the beginner's guide may be a nice present for the enthusiastic child interested in Odonates.  The two Northwoods books also add some additional depth and views to your library.  The remaining books give you more info on the odonates as a group, and give you more of a world-wide perspective.