Popular Science Books

Life in Colour – accompanying the Attenborough BBC TV Series

A new book all about colour in nature to accompany a recent major David Attenborough BBC1 / Netflix TV series (first aired February 2021). This book explores the remarkable ways that colour is used in nature, and how animals see it; from the remarkable mating displays of the peacock to the unusual camouflage of tigers.

Secret Worlds – coming soon!

Animals have an incredible diversity of sensory systems – from the echolocation calls of bats to the communication of electric fish. The senses are crucial in how animals interact with their environment, navigate thousands of miles, find food and partners, and avoid being eaten. This book with Oxford University Press is for a general audience, and showcases the stunning diversity of animal senses, and how they work.

Reviews of Cheats and Deceits

“Cleverly and clearly written, Cheats and Deceits lies at the sweet spot between popular account and a useful academic update. Well-referenced and illustrated, it will fascinate armchair, field, and lab biologist alike.” New Scientist (20 February 2016).

“The result is a beautifully illustrated must-read for academic biologists and natural historians alike.” BBC Wildlife Magazine (March 2016).

“…a clear, thoughtful, jargon-free guide… Delicious, duplicitous details make exploring the natural world seem all the more fascinating. If you want to understand just how thoroughly we live in a realm of intrigue and deception, this book is a fine place to begin.” Wall Street Journal (17 June 2016).

“I found Martin Stevens’ Cheat and Deceits to be absolutely fascinating. The subjects he takes up, the remarkable examples he provides, and the clarity of his writing style – intelligent and learned yet at the same time enjoyable and even at times witty…” Well-Read Naturalist (21 May 2016).

“Martin Stevens is a pioneer of the experimental approach to mimicry and camouflage.” The Independent (25 February 2016).

“Survival of the fittest? Forget it. Success in the wild comes down to who’s got the dirtiest tricks.” Daily Mail (17 March 2016).


Animals, plants, and even fungi are adept at tricking and exploiting other animals to their own advantage.

They lure pollinators and prey with mimicry, use stealth and camouflage to invade each others’ nests or hide from predators, and even use visual illusions to manipulate the behaviour of others. This general audience book is for those with a keen interest in nature and science and is all about deception in nature.