Green Week: Tuesday’s Items 3 and 4

Animal tool behavior: the use and manufacture of tools by animals3: Animal tool behavior: the use and manufacture of tools by animals.

By Robert W. Shumaker, Kristina R. Walkup, and Benjamin B. Beck.

Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011.

Available in the Hamilton at 591.51 R1.

In this revised and updated edition of the [Beck, 1980] landmark publication, Robert W. Shumaker and Kristina R. Walkup join Beck to reveal the current state of knowledge regarding animal tool behavior. Through a comprehensive synthesis of the studies produced through 2010, the authors provide an updated and exact definition of tool use, identify new modes of use that have emerged in the literature, examine all forms of tool manufacture, and address common myths about non-human tool use. Specific examples involving invertebrates, birds, fish, and mammals describe the differing levels of sophistication of tool use exhibited by animals. (Global Books in Print)

Bugs Britannica4: Bugs Britannica.

By Peter Marren and Richard Mabey.

London : Chatto & Windus, 2010.

Available in the Hamilton at 5 REF 595.7 +R03.

This is not a biological guide but a richly-illustrated cultural one, ‘bugs’ as seen through the eyes of writers, musicians, artists and naturalists – from the great Victorian scientists to Irvine Welsh’s talking tapeworm in Filth – as well as contributions by ordinary men and women who are fascinated by creepy-crawlies of all kinds. Marren and Mabey cannot hope to include every one of the 40,000 British invertebrates, but they do include all those with a significant cultural profile, as well as those with fascinating folk-names, superstitions, social history or domestic use. The book is structured along a roughly evolving path, from simple cell life-forms – amoeba, worms, crustaceans (proof say the authors of ‘just how far you can go on very little’) on to bugs we all might recognise – spiders, butterflies, bees – and back into the water to meet molluscs and ‘almost-fish’. The book works so triumphantly because Marren and Mabey have examined bugs in the dusty corners of our houses and gardens as well as traversing mountains, lakes and fields. In addition to the fascinating habits of the bug world they also include the eye-gogglingly odd behaviour of the bug obsessives themselves: travelling to the Annual Worm Charming Championships, and observing the antics of the British Arachnological Society. But of course, the true heroes of the book are the bugs themselves: the nimble-dicks, clock ladies and coffin-cutters. From the Boring Sponge (its official name!) to the Mermaid’s Glove and Penis Worm, via the glamorous Purple Hairstreak and the Tiger Moth – this rich compendium of bugs is a must for every naturalist’s library.

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