Cheats & Deceits
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.
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).
Talks and Appearances
I will be giving a range of talks associated with the book, including:
Brighton Science Festival, 28 February 2016 (information here)
Royal Institution, 29 February 2016 (tickets here)
Royal Geographical Society, 16 May 2016 (information here)
Hay-on-Wye Book Festival, 1 June 2016 (information here)
Find out more
Have a look at a range of videos with Martin about various topics related to deception, including:
- An introduction to the book
- Animal camouflage
- Why and how animals change colour for deception
- Deception in the garden
- Arms races between bats and moths
- Deception by the alcon blue butterfly
And here are some blog posts and articles written by Martin about deception:
- An overview of deception in nature in The Conversation
- The use of visual illusions for trickery and deceit – OUP Academic blog
- Deception and the eye of the beholder – OUP Academic blog
- Slave-maker ants and cuckoo bees – OUP Academic blog