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Cheats and Deceits: How Animals and Plants Exploit and Mislead

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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In nature, trickery and deception are widespread. Animals and plants mimic other objects or species in the environment for protection, trick other species into rearing their young, lure prey to their death, and deceive potential mates for reproduction. Cuckoos lay eggs carefully matched to their host's own clutch. Harmless butterflies mimic the wing patterning of a poisono ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 4th 2016 by Oxford University Press
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Fox
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Cheats and Deceits, like most books from Oxford University Press, is at times breathlessly fascinating - at other times a bit dryer than I'd like. It's a book that takes persistence to finish, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. By the end of the book you will know the different types of deceit and mimicry that exist in the world, and why the designations matter. You will also know how much more research has yet to be done in the field, and how it helps us innovate new technologies, as wel ...more
Alazzar
Aug 14, 2016 rated it liked it
We've all heard about some basic forms of animal trickery, whether it's camouflaged prey or eyespots on butterfly wings. But there's a lot more deception than that to be had in nature, and Martin Stevens does a great job of sharing these strategies with the reader.

There were two main things I liked about this book, the first of which was the various examples of deception--and the details involved in each case. Yeah, I already knew cuckoos laid their eggs in other birds' nests, but I never realiz
...more
Javier Abalos
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a very dry book for anyone lacking a basic training in behavioural ecology. However, the extreme attention given to the solid science, the analytical dissection of each biological question involving deception, and the carefully selected wording will make this book immediately a favourite for anyone interested in a higher-level understanding of a fascinating aspect of nature: animal trickery. Personally, this book gave me tons of motivation to pursue a career in animal communication resea ...more
Sci-Fi & Scary
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Cheats and Deceits is a fascinating book for anyone that's interested in how animals and plants have evolved to survive. Its easy to understand with lots of interesting pictures, and even though the terms can be a bit unfamiliar at time, you still can get the gist of what the author is saying.

Its definitely text-bookish, so don't expect 'light reading' when you pick this up. However, if you're like me and have been utterly fascinated by things like animal mimicry (spicebush swallowtail caterpi
...more
Anusha Narasimhan
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs-giveaways
It was interesting to read about the ways in which creatures cheat and deceive others. Many of the facts mentioned were new to me. This was an educative and interesting read. Highly recommended!

Note - I received a free copy of the book from the publisher. This has not influenced my review in any way.
Cody McCoy
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is fascinating! As an evolutionary biologist, I particularly appreciated the formal analysis of scientific papers (describing the pros and cons of studies, for example, as well as what future work remains). It was also fun to have the theoretical grounding (how are deception, mimicry, and sensory exploitation all different?). One fascinating theoretical insight for how staggeringly accurate mimicry can evolve: often animals evolve towards a sensory signal that is especially stimulating ...more
Artemis
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
The author was at times non critical of the biases of western science, but otherwise the information contained was very interesting.

I'm curious to see what research will come forward when scholars from other perspectives enter the field.
...more
Paul Franco
Dec 22, 2015 rated it liked it
I remember attending a seminar at the LA Zoo on this very subject, which is what got me to check this book out; otherwise I would have stayed far away from it, biology having been my worst subject ever. I particularly remember the gecko who looked the same from both ends, as well as why zebras have stripes. Unfortunately for me, most of this book is focused on bugs and birds, as can be readily seen from the many close-up photos of insects; yucky.
I soldiered on, and found some things of interest
...more
J Earl
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Cheats and Deceits: How Animals and Plants Exploit and Mislead by Martin Stevens is a detailed yet accessible look at how predators and prey use trickery to improves their chances at capturing or evading capture. While some of these are fairly well known the explanations make each example interesting.

While the writing is not meant to be entertainment I found it to be quite engaging and combined with the subject matter made this an extremely enjoyable read. In addition to simply telling the reade
...more
Abby
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, reviews
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Great book. The book was well ordered, it gave plenty of examples that were explained as well as pictured. It's nonfiction, it's not meant to be the most riveting thing ever written; but I enjoyed it. It was an interesting topic and it was covered well. The book covered topics with which I am familiar, however, it was written in such a way that any person could read it and understand it. I think this would be a great addition to an
...more
Mills College Library
591.472 S845 2016
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I am an Associate Professor of Sensory and Evolutionary Ecology in the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter. My research work and teaching focuses on animal behaviour and their sensory systems and ecology. Most of my work aims to understand the evolution and function of animal coloration, including camouflage, mimicry, and warning signals, from the perspective of animal ...more

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