James borrell is a conservation scientist and science communicator, with a particular interest in how species adapt to changing climate.

Dragon Hunting in Oman

Sometimes science seems boring. It can be difficult to connect the apparently disparate effort in the field, to the long term goals and achievements. So part of the challenge for science is not just to generate good data or conclusions, but it’s to be interesting. For if it is interesting, people will become interested; then enthusiasm, enjoyment and adventure might follow.

Let me introduce Dragon Hunting. I’ll confess that a few months ago I would have lumped insects with the more ‘boring’ areas of field science (in favor of camera trapping for Leopard!). But after a few weeks hunting dragonflies in Oman, quite literally the deadly fighter jets of the insect world, I stand thoroughly corrected. I was introduced by a fellow scientist called Lawrence, he insisted to us all that as soon as you hold one in your hand he’ll have you convinced – and he was right. How rarely do we get to see creatures like this up close. How much more do we appreciate them this way, rather than when they whiz around our heads unnoticed. Here’s a pair of Omani Dragons, notice the harmless tiny yellow splodges behind the head – that’s how we mark each one we catch, so that we don’t count it again. I look forward to sharing the results!



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