Dragonflies: Magnificent Creatures of Water, Air, and Land
by Pieter van Dokkum
Yale University Press, 2015 ($35)

Van Dokkum is an astronomer with a passion for dragonflies. When he is not imaging distant objects in the cosmos using some of the world's most powerful telescopes, he produces close-up photographs of one of the universe's smaller inhabitants: the dragonfly. In this large-format book, van Dokkum captures the exquisite colors and varied features of the insects, portraying the creatures' full life cycle, from the time a larval “nymph” metamorphoses into an adult dragonfly through mating and eventually death at the hands of bird predators, spider webs, cold weather or other mishaps. Captions and commentary fill out the pictures, tracing the short but curious lives of dragonflies.