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Gilbert Waldbauer

How not to be eaten

Insects are so abundant that they must present a great feast for anything that eats them. In How not to be eaten : the insects fight back Gilbert Waldbauer tells of the strategies insects use to avoid this.

One strategy is to hide away from predators, at least in the daytime, but an alternative is camouflage - some moths are effectively invisible when resting on tree bark. On the other hand, being seen can also be an advantage - eyespots can startle a predator. Many insects have ways of fighting back, some are poisonous to predator, others have stings and other weapons. There are also many mimics, either looking like something inocuous such as a twig, or resembling a less palatable insect. The book also has a chapter on ways in which predators overcome these defenses.

I thought that the way the book is written might put a lot of readers off - essentially a paragraph or two on each topic before moving on to the next one. I felt that the general readers would like something to hold their interest more (as well as more illustrations), whilst more advanced readers would be looking for more detail. On the other hand it does cover a lot of material, and has plenty of references for those wanting to go further, so it would clearly suit those wanting an introduction to a wide range of topics in a short book.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews