K D D i j k s t r a

dragonflies | freshwater | fieldguides

Invertebrates on Freshwater Conservation Committee | IUCN Species Survival Commission

a voice for species

When I was nine, my first bird book planted a powerful idea in my mind: every species had an essence I could name, depict and retell. Each can instill us with a sense of the living whole we belong to, a sense of place, and —by observing closely— a sense of how this multiverse and all worlds within it can change. Just as the identity we each afford ourselves, every species’ identity is a justification of its existence. Species, effectively, give Earth personality. They make it worth saving.


Knowing and serving nonhuman life are human rights — the only foundation for species survival (personal blog)

Restore our sense of species — tribute to natural history and Attenborough’s legacy (comment in journal Nature)

“Deadly mosquito” or “living freshwater”? — honor rather than demonize freshwater life (letter to journal Science)


A new dragonfly for Attenborough’s 90th birthday — presenting it to Sir David on BBC One

Africa, freshwater, and dragonflies — plenary on exploration for 7th International Barcode of Life Conference

Changing lives with the Tropical Biology Association — the difference TBA field courses make

Congo dragonfly hunt — catching new species in Katanga’s Upemba National Park

signed calls

International scientists formulate a roadmap for insect conservation and recovery — 73 authors (in Nature Ecology & Evolution)

Taxonomy based on science is necessary for global conservation — 184 authors (in PLOS Biology)

dragonflies and freshwater life

What are dragonflies good for? We don’t eat them like fish, nor do they pollinate our crops like many other insects. When we admire them, it’s first for their beauty, and only second for the mosquitoes they devour. When we protect them, it’s for their health and that of their habitat. And thus for our own environment. Only such an unconditional attitude towards all life might spare us our most destructive inclinations.

books and sites

Fieldguide to Europe’s dragonflies and damselflies — most successful publication on Odonata ever, second edition due in 2020!

ADDO: African Dragonflies and Damselflies Online — over 900 pages on identification, ecology and distribution of continent’s Odonata

Sixty new dragonfly species from Africa — most new Odonata named at once in a century, adding one to every twelve African species

Dragonflies and damselflies of eastern Africa — handbook to 500 species, two-thirds of continent’s Odonata

key papers

Freshwater Biodiversity and Aquatic Insect Diversification — why inland waters are so species rich (in Annual Review of Entomology)

Consensus classification of dragonflies — first list of Odonata families agreed by all experts (in Zootaxa)

Most complete damselfly phylogeny to date — first extensive molecular review of Zygoptera (in Systematic Entomology)

African Dragonfly Biotic Index — using dragonfly species to assess freshwater sites throughout Africa (in Ecological Indicators)

Diversity and conservation of African dragonflies — first Red List for insects of tropical continent (in Frontiers Ecology & Environment)

Dragonflies enter the biodiversity crisis debate — first global estimate of extinction risks in insects (in Biological Conservation)

more about me

My first guide was to European birds. But we lived in Egypt, so on my tenth birthday I began to write and draw my own. With no book for dragonflies at all, I started to describe and name them at twelve. Later I’d learn that my ‘blood red dragonfly’ and ‘grass dragonfly’ were male and female of just one species, the Broad Scarlet. Eight years after naming a Vagrant Emperor the ‘hairy dragonfly’ as a boy, my friends and I found the first one in The Netherlands. Now my passion for dragonflies was fully fledged.

curriculum vitae — see highlights or download PDF (January 2020)

publications — download list (January 2020; most PDFs are accessible on ADDO) or check Google Scholar

contact — send an email or find me on Twitter

This is the personal website of KD (Klaas-Douwe) B Dijkstra. Please make contact if you have questions or comments.