Bombardier Beetles and Fever Trees: A Close-up Look at Chemical Warfare and Signals in Animals and Plants

Overview

In their sometimes fierce, often mysterious lives, many plants and animals rely on the transmission and reception of chemicals to attack, defend, eat, and avoid being eaten. In this exciting book, Agosta tells the story of the surprising interplay between the hunters and the hunted in the gardens, fields, and forests of the world.

In their sometimes fierce, often mysterious day-to-day lives, many plants and animals rely on the transmission and reception of chemicals...

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1995 Hard cover First printing New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 224 p. Contains: Illustrations. Helix Books. Audience: General/trade.

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Overview

In their sometimes fierce, often mysterious lives, many plants and animals rely on the transmission and reception of chemicals to attack, defend, eat, and avoid being eaten. In this exciting book, Agosta tells the story of the surprising interplay between the hunters and the hunted in the gardens, fields, and forests of the world.

In their sometimes fierce, often mysterious day-to-day lives, many plants and animals rely on the transmission and reception of chemicals for the basic functions of attack, defense, eating, and avoidance of being eaten. This exciting and eminently readable book tells the story of the surprising interplay between the hunters and the hunted, and even the hunters of the hunters, in the gardens, fields, and forests of the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Agosta, a professor at Rockefeller University with a number of publications in the scientific literature to his name, has written a colorful introduction to the chemicals that occur naturally in plants and animals. Classifying these substances as warfare agents, lifestyle components, or message senders, he includes a wide variety of examples for each (e.g., lima bean distress signals, supercooled springtails, and the suicidal germination of witchweed seeds). A secondary theme is Agosta's emphasis on the importance of nature's chemicals to humans in pharmaceutical and other applications. He also briefly touches on ecological and environmental matters that influence the present and future of many of the organisms. With the exception of Latin genus and species names, Agosta uses little biological or chemical terminology; thus, the lay reader should find this book easy to understand. Recommended for general science collections.-Jan Williams, Monsanto Co., St. Louis, Mo.
Booknews
An organic chemist takes the lay reader on a tour of the chemical weapons and communication schemes employed by insects, animals, and plants, and of the medicinal uses of natural chemicals from quinine to taxol. He looks at agents of chemical warfare (skunk's spray, poison ivy's irritant), compounds that play a role in lifestyle (the chemical that makes a firefly glow, the web a spider spins), and those that convey messages (sex-attractant pheromones, the scents of flowers), and at how all these chemicals affect our lives. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780201626582
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 11/21/1995
  • Series: Helix Books
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Nature's Storehouse of Chemicals 1
Ch. 2 Chemical Defenses in the Plant World 9
Ch. 3 How Animals Use Chemical Warfare 35
Ch. 4 Chemical Warfare in Simpler Organisms 55
Ch. 5 Medicines and Drugs from Plants 78
Ch. 6 Chemicals and Lifestyles 107
Ch. 7 Chemical Messages Within the Family 139
Ch. 8 Chemical Messages to the Wider World 173
Ch. 9 Making Use of Nature's Molecules 206
A Note to the Reader 213
Index 215
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