Want to find out about dragonflies in Victoria?

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: Want to find out about dragonflies in Victoria?
From: "Simon Mustoe" <>
Date: Sun, 11 Sep 2005 21:49:50 +1000
Ian Endersby tells me that dragonflies are the 'birders' insects', so I hope you'll forgive this slightly off-topic posting.
If you want to be part of a natural history community that has almost tripled in size in just the last year...okay, albeit from about 4 to 12 people, then you may be interested to read on.
For about a year, we've been working on our ability to identify these fantastic insects and have largely disseminated this material into a website. There already exists a reference key for in the hand identification (micropscope / handlens) but as yet, no fieldguide for birders and others to use to identify them through binoculars.  Equipped with a pair of reasonably close-focusing bins you can quickly become expert in identifying at least the common species. Just in a few months last year, we racked quite a list just around Metropolitan Melbourne and have placed detailed photos and descriptions of what we've found, on the website.
The catch is, we have virtually no knowledge of distribution and abundance of most species so virtually anything we find is new information. This is also a mammoth undertaking and one which we could spend many months more researching until we let anyone know about it. Instead however, we've decided to advertise the site in the hope that birders with a general interest might be able to help us document distributions and learn more about how to identify these insects in the field. The season is about to start and there is a massive area to search.
If you're handy with a net and up to the challenge of trying to catch one of these critters, then a number of digital photos from different angles offers distinct possibilities of identifying most dragonflies. At this stage, we're particularly interested in receiving any photos, particularly of insects that might be species we have not already documented.
If you have any photos of dragonflies from around Victoria, please please please, send them to me with a note of where and when they were taken. The website and an email address to send photos is at . If you see any and identify any dragonflies, there is a very simple sightings form on the site as well.
To reiterate, please forgive the incompleteness of the website. We are depending on the efforts of various people - including ourselves - this year to hopefully fill some of the gaps.
Simon Mustoe.
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