557 pages, colour photos, colour & b/w illustrations, colour tables
Mimicry, Crypsis, Masquerade and Other Adaptive Resemblances synthesises the huge range of adaptations of living organisms that are the result of natural selection favouring an appearance that resembles some other organism (or aspect thereof), inanimate object or general background. It covers a wide range of examples, mostly from animals and plants, but fungi, protists, bacteria and even viruses are also discussed, and even some human aspects such as padded bras, striped dresses and military camouflage. Collectively, the examples illustrate the enormous scope of the topic. Many different modalities of resemblance are involved, such as colouration, countershading, texture, bioluminescence, behaviour, structure, chemistry and sound.
The author explores the results of a large number of experimental tests that have been conducted in the field, especially over recent years, explaining key models and experimental systems.
The book is beautifully illustrated in full colour throughout with over 500 images to aid understanding. These show many examples of adaptive resemblance between animals and plants as well as many graphs which are presented to illustrate research findings. Whilst it includes some mathematical equations and descriptions of models that explore and explain the depths of evolution's complexities these are all presented in a fully explained, accessible manner so that non-academic readers will also be able to appreciate their significance. Mimicry, Crypsis, Masquerade and Other Adaptive Resemblances:
- covers everything from classic examples of animal and plant camouflage, the evolution of warning signals, Batesian, Müllerian, aggressive, sexual, social and dispersal mimicries
- explores many other topics, such as fruit colouration, and shows how some aspects of human behaviour and microbial molecular actions can easily be seen as products of the same types of natural selection that led to classic types of mimicry, albeit in more complicated ways
- highlights areas where additional work or specific experimentation could be fruitful
- cites and references over 2600 works
Far more than a course text, for which it is also ideal for levels ranging through undergraduate to graduate, this book is the most comprehensive resource on this diverse subject area for many years, and certainly the one of broadest scope. It is written in a way that can be understood easily by all readers including amateur natural history enthusiasts. The author shows how observational and experimental data can be interpreted, and how modelling has greatly increased our understanding of the processes involved in the evolution of all sorts of mimetic and other resemblances.
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