An academic at the University has recently published a book that investigates how animals and plants use trickery and ingenuity to deceive one other for evolutionary advancement.
Dr Martin Stevens, Associate Professor in Sensory and Evolutionary Ecology at Exeter University, launched his new book Cheats and Deceits: How Animals and Plants Exploit and Mislead this week.
About deception in nature, he explains the science behind how species mimic other objects and organisms in the environment to survive and reproduce.
In Exeter’s Centre for Ecology and Conservation, Stevens conducts research with a focus on animal anti-predator coloration and vision (particularly within birds).
In his new book, Stevens explores the function of colour change, such as camouflage, as the difference between life and death within the animal kingdom.
Dr Stevens said: “The main reason, ultimately, that I wanted to write the book is that I think it’s a wonderful and exciting subject, rich in natural history, exploration, and scientific work.
“It’s amazing that the natural world has been studied for centuries by explorers and natural historians and yet we are still discovering remarkable cases of how animals, plants, and even fungi can deceive one another.”
Not only bound to the labs in Exeter, Stevens works in the UK and abroad (Africa, Europe, SE Asia) to conduct research on taxonomic groups, such as birds, reptiles, insects, and primates.
He is due to talk about the release of his new book and the subject of deception at a number of events across the country including the Hay Festival and the Royal Institution.