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Concealing Coloration in Animals Hardcover – April 9, 2013

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

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Diamond and Bond do an excellent job of discussing the evolutionary mechanisms and processes in a simple yet powerful way that should be accessible to nonexperts. They make the subject come alive by telling us not just what we know about camouflage today, but also where the field has come from, and equally importantly the work that has been done to get us here. (Martin Stevens Animal Behaviour 2013-12-01)

It is a beautifully written exploration of the extraordinary variety of ways in which animals can make life difficult for the visual systems of their predators and prey in order to gain advantage in a natural world red in tooth and claw…Evolution is interwoven throughout the book. (Graeme D. Ruxton Current Biology 2013-06-03)

I wish that many school, college, and university teachers read this book because it gives a very appealing collection of exciting stories of true scientific process and progress…Diamond and Bond show how hidden creatures made evolution recognizable. (Johanna Mappes Ecology 2014-06-01)

The authors have read, and are on top of, an immense amount of literature, making a student of coloration like myself envious…I am delighted that I have this volume on coloration in my collection. (Tim Caro Quarterly Review of Biology 2014-03-01)

Reading this book stimulated me to think about aspects of my own work in new ways and I would recommend it to all those interested in animal coloration. There is no book that I am aware of that competes with this one…One aspect of this book that distinguishes it from others is the focus on, and insight into, the role of predator cognition in the evolution of concealing coloration. Alan Bond has no equal in this field. (Devi Stuart-Fox Copeia 2013-12-01)

If you want to read a scientific thriller then this is your book. Do not expect that, like Hercule Poirot’s cases, you will have a final answer on the last page. You may finish the book with more questions than when you started. That is the fun! This book opens your mind so you will never ‘See’ the world the same way again. (Roy John Canadian Field-Naturalist 2013-01-01)

Combining a naturalist's eye with scientific rigor, the authors report on modern experiments on the mechanisms of the selective process that support these observations. (Kirkus Reviews 2013-02-01)

This book is a lovely survey, for the general public, of all that is known about concealing coloration, and very nicely weaves the history of the subjects with the facts. (John A. Endler, Professor of Sensory Ecology and Evolution, Deakin University, Australia)

About the Author

Judy Diamond is Professor and Curator at the University of Nebraska State Museum.

Alan B. Bond is Research Professor of Biological Sciences and Co-Director of the Center for Avian Cognition at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press (April 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674052358
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674052352
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,927,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Concealing Coloration in Animals by Judy Diamond and Alan B. Bond was a short scientific analysis of camouflage. It was divided into four parts: concealment, perception, isolation and detection. I found the chapter on mimics, referring to species which evolved a camouflaged identity that copies others in order to take advantage of their life experience, to be the most interesting. The authors also covered evolutionary islands, whether surrounded by water or not, in describing how species adapted to their environments based on their limited areas. Thus they came to the conclusion:

"The association between the degree of genetic isolation and the occurrence of local forms that closely match the hue of their backgrounds is one of the strongest indications of the role of natural selection in the evolution of concealing coloration."

One of my favourite birds is the kakapo, the largest species of parrot. It is flightless and camouflaged in the low-lying New Zealand greenery. However it has no native predators--at least none that predated European settlement. Why then would it be both flightless and camouflaged? Didn't birds lose their ability to fly because of the absence of predation? And on the other hand, wouldn't the presence of predators lead natural selection to develop camouflage in those birds that are preyed upon? The fact is that up until the mid-fourteenth century, the kakapo did have a native predator: Haast's eagle. It was the largest eagle that ever existed. Thus "[t]he kakapo's mossy coloration might be a kind of fossil camouflage, an adaptation to a predatory interaction that no longer exists.
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