From the familiar to the improbable, the gross to the endearing, The Modern Bestiary is a compendium of curious creatures. It includes both animals that have made headlines and those you've probably never heard of, such as skin-eating caecilians, harp sponges, or zombie worms – also known as bone-eating snot flowers.
Arranged by elements (Earth, Water, Air), The Modern Bestiary contains well-known species told from new, unexpected angles (rats that drive cars; fish that communicate by passing wind), as well as stranger and lesser-known creatures, including carnivorous mice that howl at the moon, cross-dressing cuttlefish, and antechinuses – small marsupials that literally mate themselves to death. Finally, there are the 'aliens on Earth' – the incredible, the surreal, the magical – such as tardigrades, tongue-eating lice and immortal jellyfish, creatures so astonishing that they make unicorns look rather commonplace. Written by a zoologist with a flair for storytelling, this is a fascinating celebration of the animal kingdom.
Dr Joanna Bagniewska is a zoologist and science communicator. She completed her undergraduate degree at Jacobs University Bremen and Rice University in Houston and obtained her MSc and doctorate from the University of Oxford's zoology department. After a stint at a start-up company, where she trained bees to detect illegal substances, Joanna went on to lecture at Nottingham Trent University and the University of Reading. Her academic interests include conservation biology, behavioural ecology and the intersection of technology and zoology. Joanna has worked on a range of species, ranging from wombats and wallabies to mole-rats and jackals. She currently splits her time between two roles: senior lecturer in environmental sciences at Brunel University London, and communications and public engagement officer at the University of Oxford's Department of Paediatrics. This is her first book.