The first-ever layman’s guide to the dragonflies and damselflies of peninsular India, published in 2005, is the result of a collaborative project of the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore.
The author, K A Subramanian, and the series editor Madhav Gadgil, along with all the photographers and researchers who contributed to this immensely useful and usable field guide, must be heartily commended. Democratising this wealth of information, adopting technology to produce it affordably, and distributing it by means of free downloads are outstanding steps on the part of the scientific community, which is often accused of being insular and aloof.
The book is illustrated with excellent photographs and putting it all together must have been a painstaking exercise. The field guide is available as downloadable PDF files in three parts – an introduction (2.5 MB) and a section each on dragonflies (2.5 MB) and damselflies (2 MB).
The initiative is part of Project Lifescape, which aims to enhance the quality of science education. The project has produced four books so far. The others are Butterflies of Peninsular India, Freshwater Fishes of Peninsular India and Amphibians of Peninsular India. These are not offered for free download.