Sympetrum fonscolombii… to John & Carol’s world of Odonata – dragonflies and damselflies.

Odonata is the scientific term for the order of insects comprised of dragonflies (Anisoptera) and damselflies (Zygoptera). [See Dragonfly or Damselfly for an explanation of the difference between a dragonfly and a damselfly.]

Odonata is sometimes Anglicized to “odonates” but it seems to be becoming more fashionable to use “dragonflies” as the collective English/common term forcing the rather ugly [my opinion] term “true dragonflies” to be used for, well, dragonflies. I stick to Odonata or Odos for short. Besides, the word lends itself to irresistible puns like “Odo-nutters” (us) and “Odo-natter” (the blog). 😯

The Species section is the meat of our website and dedicates a page to each species keyed by scientific/binomial names rather than English/common names. That segues neatly into my notes on naming. My decision to use scientific names was based on opening the content to an international audience. The top level Species page also has some notes on species numbers by geographic region.

In my view there are 45 species of breeding Odonata in the UK. According to Grand/Boudot, there are 89 in mainland France, i.e. within relatively easy [written prior to Covid-19] and fun (for us) reach; we travel there often. As opportunities arise we travel further afield and note what we’ve seen there, too.

For those that may be interested, I have also written notes on mating, some details of the process being unique to odonata.

10 comments on “Welcome
  1. Dick Askew says:

    Outstanding photos! Acquaintances of yours, Graham & Tricia [edited for privacy], on a visit here (Dordogne) yesterday, told me of your interest in dragonflies and directed me to this website. If you are ever in the region do call and see us (Graham can give you directions), or you might consider a dragonfly holiday based at Mauzac on the Dordogne led by myself and a colleague, David Simpson. The holiday is organized by Travelling Naturalist and details, including reports from previous years, are on the internet.
    Congratulations on your very fine pictures.
    Dick Askew

    • JC says:

      As the author of the seminal volume, The Dragonflies of Europe (1988), Dick, I am honoured by your visit and your gracious comments. I can only try to imagine the amount of painstaking work in your book’s production. Graham and Trish have mentioned seeing some of your personally drawn artwork in progress.

      Some years ago, Carol and I used to visit the Dordogne, normally staying at Cenac just below Sarlat-la-Canéda. However, those trips predated my obsession with Odonata so the Dordogne is an area that I need to revisit, from that viewpoint. If we do so, I will certainly try to say hello. It would be great to meet you.

      Thanks again for your kind comments.


  2. Janet Tierney says:

    While in the Loire valley, I found and photographed a dragonfly with a brilliant almost iridescent dark blue body. The tail is not banded, the wings are a black mesh. When flying, the insect looked dark blue. I have no idea what this could be (I haven’t found an image that looks anything like) and wondered if you can help? I would send you an image, but not sure how I upload it.

  3. Peter Hunt says:

    An excellent website with outstanding images.

  4. Hello John & Carol . Great job with dragonflies. I study Odonates for 30 years and with my friends Roberto and Alida I have published a book about Italian dragonflies in Italian ” Odonati d’Italia ” and recently “Dragonflies and damselflies of Europe”. If you needed photos of the species you have not found yet I have no problem giving you the photos that I have. This is the link of my gallery on Odonates
    We can keep in touch via e-mail for any exchange of information. Sorry for my bad english

    • JC says:

      Firstly, your English is excellent, Carlo. I’m afraid my Italian is almost non-existent.

      Thank you for your visit. I follow your pictures on a couple of facebook groups, as I suspect you know. You do seem to like the challenge of flight shots, which are generally just as excellent as your English. 🙂

      • Carlo Galliani says:

        Hello John & Carol. Thank you very much for your comment on my website and I am very happy that you enjoyed our book

  5. Steve Mathers says:

    So glad to have discovered your site

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