Cheats and Deceits: How Animals and Plants Exploit and by Martin Stevens PDF

By Martin Stevens

ISBN-10: 0198707894

ISBN-13: 9780198707899

In nature, trickery and deception are frequent. Animals and crops mimic different items or species within the setting for cover, trick different species into rearing their younger, trap prey to their loss of life, and mislead strength associates for copy. Cuckoos lay eggs rigorously matched to their host's personal take hold of. risk free butterflies mimic the wing patterning of a toxic butterfly to prevent being eaten. The deep-sea angler fish hangs a gleaming, fleshy entice in entrance of its mouth to attract the eye of capability prey, whereas a few male fish modify their visual appeal to appear like adult females so as to sneak previous competitors in mating. a few orchids advance the scent of woman bugs so as to allure pollinators, whereas carnivorous vegetation entice bugs to their demise with vibrant monitors.

In Cheats and Deceits, Martin Stevens describes the amazing diversity of such variations in nature, and considers how they've got developed and more and more been perfected as a part of an hands race among predator and prey or host and parasite. He explores either vintage and up to date learn of naturalists and biologists, exhibiting how scientists locate methods of trying out the impression of specific behaviours and colourings at the animals it's intended to idiot. Drawing on quite a lot of examples, Stevens considers what deception tells us concerning the means of evolution and adaptation.

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Additional info for Cheats and Deceits: How Animals and Plants Exploit and Mislead

Sample text

Deception should benefit those practising it, but is often costly to the animals being tricked, from lost time or resources such as food, through to a greatly increased risk of death. This book is about how deception works in nature and how it evolves. It is about how and why some spiders mimic ants, many orchids resemble the smell and appearance of insects, various birds lay their eggs in other species’ nests, and much more. We will discuss these questions and many others, including numerous and wonderful examples from nature, as well as the clever science and experiments that have led to our current understanding of deception.

Yet this is misleading. For a start, insects do not generally see the world in the same way that we do. Many insect pollinators, for example, have visual systems that can readily detect ultraviolet (UV) light and UV colours in their environment. This is valuable because many floral signals are rich in UV patterns, often acting as ‘nectar guides’ directing the pollinator into the centre of the flower. Remarkably, unlike European crab spiders, Australian species often positively glow in the UV, standing out like a beacon against the dark flower in UV light (Figure 4).

The most remarkable cases involve the large blue butterflies (Maculinea, sometimes now called phengaris)1 found throughout Europe and Asia, including the alcon blue (M. alcon). Other Maculinea butterflies start life in much the same way as M. alcon, with the caterpillar initially feeding on the flower buds of a host plant before dropping to the plant base to be discovered and taken back to a nest of Myrmica ants. After this, depending on the butterfly species, one of two things normally happens.

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Cheats and Deceits: How Animals and Plants Exploit and Mislead by Martin Stevens

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