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Did you know?
Thanatosis, or death feigning, is a behavioral strategy “employed by hide beetles (Trogidae), certain fungus-feeding darkling beetles (tenebrionidae), zopherids (Zopheridae), weevils (Curculionidae), and many others” to avoid becoming a predator’s dinner. When these beetles sense danger, they pull their legs and antennae up tightly against their bodies so that they look dead and lifeless to their enemies. These small predators lose interest in the hard, small, and unflinching beetles, and move on to their next target. Pretty cool, huh?
Batesian Mimicry is another tactic to keep from being eaten. In this case, beetles “mimic the appearance or behavior of stinging or distasteful insects,” as in the case of the flower-visiting Acmaeodera (Buprestidae), scarabs (Scarabaeidae), and longhorns (Cerambycidae). They all sport fuzzy bodies, bold colors and patterns, and behaviors to make them believable mimics of bees and wasps, and make quick and jerky movements to complete the staging. And believe you, me, neither animals nor humans want to be stung by bees – and so the predators retreat.
We hope you feel informed, and we’ll see you next Friday for another great Fun Fact!
Arthur V. Evans is the author of:
Did you know?
The common name “stag beetle” refers to the large antlerlike mandibles found in some males, such as the giant stag beetle Lucanus elaphus (See middle frame at right). Mandible size within a species is “directly proportionate to the size of the body and regulated by genetic and environmental factors.”
Why do they have them?
Arthur V. Evans is the author of:
If you’re heading to the Ecological Society of America annual meeting in Sacramento, CA August 10th-15th, come visit us at booth 303!
Louis Gross, co-author of Mathematics for the Life Sciences, will be speaking in the demo area of the exhibit hall at noon on Wednesday, August 13th. All are welcome to then join us at the booth that evening at 5:00 for wine, cheese, and a book signing!
The life sciences deal with a vast array of problems at different spatial, temporal, and organizational scales. The mathematics necessary to describe, model, and analyze these problems is similarly diverse, incorporating quantitative techniques that are rarely taught in standard undergraduate courses. This textbook provides an accessible introduction to these critical mathematical concepts, linking them to biological observation and theory while also presenting the computational tools needed to address problems not readily investigated using mathematics alone.
Follow us on Twitter @PrincetonUPress for updates on the meeting and new and forthcoming titles.
Also be sure to browse our biology catalog, which lists many books for sale at our booth:
See you in Sacramento!
Wilson-Rich has been keeping bees on Cape Cod since 2010 and maintains two apiaries in Truro, where he conducts research on experimental vaccines that could potentially improve the health of honey bees. His talk at the museum will focus on this research, as well as the role of bees on Cape Cod and the importance of honey bees in sustainable gardening. He will also discuss his business, the Best Bees Company, a service based in Boston’s South End that installs and manages hives for honey bees for businesses and residents of eastern Massachusetts.
To celebrate the recent publication of Beetles of Eastern North America, Arthur V. Evans’s tremendously beautiful and comprehensive guide to all creatures coleopteral, we’ll be posting a new “fun fact” about beetles each week. These anecdotes won’t be limited to your standard beetle biology; they’ll surprise you, make you laugh, and wish that you’d bought the book sooner!
Photo credit: Breakingnews.ie
Arthur V. Evans is the author of:
Quick Questions for Richard Karban, author of How to Do Ecology: A Concise Handbook (Second Edition)June 10th, 2014
PUP: What inspired you to get into your field?
Richard Karban: I grew up in an ugly and dangerous neighborhood in New York City. Natural history and natural areas were highly romanticized in my mind. Being an ecologist seemed like an exciting way to escape this life.
What is the book’s most important contribution?
Doing ecological research successfully requires a considerable amount of insider knowledge. We don’t teach these tips in academic classes. This book attempts to provide a simple set of guidelines for navigating the process of generating hypotheses, testing them, analyzing your results, and communicating with an interested audience. In my opinion, this is what we should be teaching ecology students, but aren’t.
What was the biggest challenge with bringing this book to life?
The biggest challenge getting this book to happen was not allowing myself to get discouraged. I teach a graduate-level course in which each student develops an independent field project. The book started as a series of handouts that I gave my students. Each year, I revised my pile of materials. After a decade or so of revisions, I submitted a manuscript but was told that it was too short and lacked interesting visuals and other tools that would make the material accessible. Okay, so much for that, although I continued to add and tweak the content for my class. My wife, Mikaela Huntzinger, read what I had and convinced me that it would be useful to students; she also volunteered to add figures and boxes. Most of all, she encouraged me not to give up on the thing. Indeed, confidence and persistence are the most important attributes that separate successful projects from failures.
Why did you write this book?
I had a terrible time in grad school. I didn’t attend a large research university as an undergrad and I arrived with little sense of how to do research or thrive in an environment that valued research, publications, and grants above all else. Figuring out the culture was a painful process of trial and error. My experiences made me acutely aware of the “game” and made me want to share what I had learned to spare others the same pain.
Who is the main audience?
This book is intended primarily for young ecologists who can use some help posing interesting questions, answering them, and communicating what they find. Undergrads who want to do research and grad students doing a thesis are the two populations who will find the book most useful, although we hope that our colleagues will also get something from it.
How did you come up with the title and cover?
The title is a little presumptuous, but also conveys what we hope to provide in a few clear words – perfect.
The cover reflects my long-standing interest in streams that cut gently through landscapes. The first edition had a photo taken by my collaborator, Kaori Shiojiri, at our field site along Sagehen Creek. This edition features an abstraction of that image that I painted. If we write future editions, they will have further abstractions of that same theme done as a mosaic (Mikaela’s favorite medium) or as a stained glass (one of Ian’s).
Check out Chapter 1 of the book, here.
Richard Karban is the author of:
Our video series on the HOW CLIMATE WORKS symposium held at Princeton University this past fall concludes with the Q&A session following the final talk of the day. We hope you have enjoyed your symposium vidoes. For furthur reading, check out our Princeton Primers in Climate series.
Part 7 from the How Climate Works symposium features Shawn Marshall of the University of Calgary on the cryosphere. We published his excellent book on the subject in the Fall or 2011 called THE CRYOSPHERE.
Continuing with our series on talks from Princeton’s HOW CLIMATE WORKS symposium, here we see Princeton University geoscience professor Michael Bender discussing Paleoclimate. His new book PALEOCLIMATE will be availble July 2013.
Renowned University of Chicago geophysicist David Archer discussed the Global Carbon Cycle. We published the book of the same name, THE GLOBAL CARBON CYCLE, in the Fall of 2010.
For those following our HOW CLIMATE WORKS symposium videos, our latest addition is the morning’s Questions & Answers session.
We invite you to download and browse our 2012-2013 Biology catalog:
Be on the lookout for these new and forthcoming titles (just to name a few):
Nature’s Compass: The Mystery of Animal Navigation
Darwinian Agriculture: How Understanding Evolution Can Improve Agriculture
How and Why Species Multiply: The Radiation of Darwin’s Finches
Atmosphere, Clouds, and Climate
The World’s Rarest Birds
and more. There are too many great titles to list here. You’re just going to have to check it out online: http://press.princeton.edu/catalogs/bio12.pdf
If you are attending the First Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology in Ottawa, stop by and visit us at booth #105!