The Dragonflies of Europe ( revised edition) by R. R.Askew . Great Horkesley, Colchester, UK : Harley Books , 2004 . 308 pp. 513 text figures, 219 colour figures. ISBN-13 978 0946589753 .

Richard Askew’s The Dragonflies of Europe was first published in 1988 and quickly established itself as one of the leading texts on European dragonflies. At this time there were 114 recognised European species of dragonflies and the core of the book was devoted to their identification. This was facilitated by the provision of keys to the adults and larvae along with a detailed description of each species. The descriptions were further supplemented with high quality line drawings of the morphological features necessary to distinguish each species. Each entry was completed with notes on distribution, full synonymy, distribution maps, biological characteristics and flight period. The provision of 29 superb colour plates illustrating most, but not all, of the species further aided identification. The inclusion of introductory chapters on dragonfly taxonomy, morphology, biology and ecology completed the text.

In the years since the original publication, work has continued on European dragonflies necessitating an updated edition. This new edition of Dragonflies of Europe contains nine new supplementary pages providing brief descriptions of ten species that have recently been found in Europe, including the new species that was described from Bulgaria in 2001. These new descriptions are supported by nine new line drawings and one new colour plate that illustrates five of the new resident species and one North American adventive. The nomenclature has been updated for nine species. A section on changes in distribution, probably due to climate change, is included and new national or significant regional distribution records are provided for many species.

The most notable change to the revised edition is its reduction in size and the use of cloth covers. These new features are not part of an attempt to re-invent The Dragonflies of Europe as a field guide but to make the book more handy and portable than the first edition. The essential use of this book is as an authoritative identification manual, which it has been since its first publication, and this revision will ensure this continuance for years to come.