And within these areas, there are infinite possibilities. But as the cover art suggests, Forbes does not stop there. Camouflage has military uses; and the history of two World Wars reveals extraordinary interactions between naturalists like Hugh Cott author of the greatest twentieth-century book on camouflage, Adaptive Coloration in Animals , and Peter Scott with the military — Scott was a naval captain, so he had a foot in both camps.
- Oedipus the King.
- Iron On My Mind;
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- The Immaculate Deception: A Tom Sullivan Mystery!
- How Far to Bethlehem?;
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- Rain, Rain, Go Away!
Forbes describes the research workers, their controversies and their heated opinions, right or wrong. The result of such inquiry will one day be an explanation of the observed, very complex, natural history at multiple levels — genetics, developmental biology, visual appearance, and natural selection, all of which will have to fit together exactly.
It's always a pleasure to receive a book for review, although I did wonder how relevant this book would be to those, such as myself, particularly interested in Lepidoptera. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the majority of links to the natural world use butterflies as their example, which I know is one of the reasons I was sent the book!
I have to say, I found the book an easy read; the author has an engaging storytelling style that lays out crucial historical facts against a backdrop of the characters involved as we are led on a tour through the ages, from the Victorian era right up to the present day. Not surpringly, the highlights of the book, for me, are those that focus on the natural world and, in particular, Lepidoptera!
Dazzled and Deceived
These highlights include a discussion of the early work of Henry Walter Bates and Alfred Russel Wallace, whose trips to the Amazon provided early insights into the value of mimicry where, most notably, mimics of Heliconiid butterflies were afforded some protection from predators. The resulting Batesian mimicry , named after Bates, of course provided evidence to support Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.
The book goes further, introducing new characters along the way, such as Fritz Muller, whose Mullerian mimicry shows that different species, each of which is distasteful to birds and other predators, mimic each other so that the number of losses due to predators who have yet to learn their lesson of each butterfly species is reduced. Papilio dardanus provides another interesting example where different forms of offspring are produced to improve the chances of survival.
Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage
These are just a few examples of a wonderful array of Lepidoptera-related topics that the book touches on. Another theme of the book is our practical application of lessons learned from the natural world.
For example, 6 of the 16 chapters of this page book are dedicated to mimicry and camouflage during the world wars. I must admit, I found this particular discussion too long for my liking although I dare say that some readers would find this particular section the most appealing! While I have several books that each lightly touch on the subject of mimicry and camouflage, this book conveniently pulls all of the different strands together, surely making this one of the most authoritative accounts of the subject; I know I will be referring back to the book for years to come.
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