Avoiding Attack: The Evolutionary Ecology of Crypsis, Warning Signals and Mimicry

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This book discusses the diversity of mechanisms by which prey avoid attack by predators and questions how such defensive mechanisms have evolved through natural selection. It considers how potential prey avoid detection, how they make themselves unprofitable to attack, how they signal their unprofitability, and how other species have exploited these signals. Using carefully selected examples drawn from a wide range of species and ecosystems, the authors present a critical analysis of the most important published works in the field. Illustrative examples of camouflage, mimicry and warning signals regularly appear in undergraduate ecology textbooks, but these subjects are rarely considered in depth. This book summarises some of the latest research into these fascinating adaptations, developing mathematical models where appropriate and making recommendations for the most urgently needed outstanding areas of enquiry.

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Avoiding detection
Avoiding attack after detection
Deceiving predators

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About the author (2004)

Graeme Ruxton has co-written two books, both published by Oxford University Press - 'Living in Groups' (2002) for the Oxford Series in Ecology and Evolution, and the textbook 'Elementary Experimental Design for the Life Sciences' (2003). He is also the author of over 100 scientific articles. His background in physics provides particular strength in the functional aspects of signalling systems discussed in this book. Tom Sherratt is the author of nearly 50 scientific papers on subjects ranging from the evolution of co-operation, to the maintenance of imperfect mimicry and the evolution of warning signals. His practical background in both tropical and temperate entomology (principally damselflies and mosquitoes) has been of great value in evaluating empirical work in this broad field, whilst his wide interests in evolutionary biology and foraging theory complement those of his co-authors in placing empirical findings within an appropriate theoretical context. Mike Speed has worked for over a decade on the role of predator behaviour in the generation of insect warning signals. He is consulting editor for the journal Animal Behaviour and a member of the education committee of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. His publications span theoretical and empirical studies of mimicry and aposematism.

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