Books: Asia

Dragonflies of Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore (A. G. Orr)
A compact pocket guide, easy to travel with and Orr seems to be something of an authority in the area but this book has several shortcomings that make it difficult to use, IMHO. The illustrations appear less detailed than the inimitable Mr. Lewington’s and are incomplete (no male A. aethra, for example). Worse, though, is the complete lack of any index making suspects v. difficult to find. No vernacular names are used, which is perfectly fine, but I’d at least expect an index based on scientific name. The lack of index difficulty is compounded by the fact that species accounts, though grouped into families such as Libellulidae, are not even sorted by alphabetical order of species name. They seem to be in Sod’s Law sequence. Thus, finding a suspect becomes a search-through-many-pages exercise. Duh!
ISBN: 983-812-103-7 (paperback)
A Photographic Guide to the Dragonflies of Singapore (Tang Hun Bun/Wang Luan Ken/Matti Hämäläinen)
Illustrated with quite high quality (for the most part) photographs, this proved most useful on our trip to SE Asia in early 2013. Tang Hun Bun is probably the leading light when it comes to Singaporean Odonata. A very worthwhile publication even if very geo-specific. Not available through Amazon but can be ordered from Pemberley Books.
ISBN: 978-981-08-6155-1 (paperback)
Dragonflies of our Parks and Gardens (Robin Ngiam)
A [Singapore] National Parks Board publication, this book proved most useful when planning our trip to Singapore in early 2013, courtesy of its description of dragonfly sites and the species lists associated with them. It also has an excellent separate index card of the more common species which proved most useful as our first stop in trying to identify a new suspect. A very worthwhile geo-specific publication though difficult to get in the UK. Ours was delivered from Singapore by a helpful relative. Best bought probably on arrival in Singapore at the Singapore Botanic Garden shop.
ISBN: 978-981-08-8521-2 or 9810885210 (paperback)
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Peninsular India – A Field Guide (K. A. Subramanian)
Though I haven’t actually been to India [yet], I’ve found this seemingly useful photographic field guide which is completely free to download (in three parts: Introduction, Dragonflies, Damselflies) from the Indian Academy of Sciences. How wonderfully helpful is that? Well, not quite as helpful as it might be since the contents of this book represent only a modest proportion of all Indian species. Still useful, though.
Dragonflies and Damselflies of Orissa and Eastern India (Manoj V. Nair)
I’ve found this second useful photographic field guide on Indian Odonata available as a PDF. This is a more recent offering than the above and the photos seem better. Clearly, though, it covers a specific subsection of India, though some species covered will be widespread. Presumably, since there is no ISBN quoted, it has not been produced in printed form?
A Field Guide to the Dragonflies and Damselflies of Sri Lanka (Amila Prasanna Sumanapala)
A 2017 publication funded by Dilmah Conservation. This is a very well produced and organized photographic guide covering 105 of the currently identified odonata [129 at the time of writing] in Sri lanka. I am about to get the chance to use it in battle.
ISBN: 978-955-0081-24-0 (paperback)