Recommended book: The Master of Disguise. How do animals make themselves invisible

Camouflage, deception and deception

It is about animals that are almost completely integrated with their environment and therefore can become almost invisible to enemies or their potential prey. On camouflage, deception and deception in nature and the question: Where is the animal? and about the clever strategies that mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, and fish use to survive or hunt more successfully.

Animals make themselves invisible

Obviously the captivating pictures here, these adorable pictures of completely different animals have abilities I would love to have too! To not be seen, to be able to do things unnoticed because you can adapt to the environment externally – it’s a great idea!

What repeatedly surprises us in this book is, of course, no fun, or show, but rather a “compulsory event” for the animals to be able to survive in their environment.

For example, there’s the moonbird, a moth that can transform itself into a tiny piece of twig that looks like it’s just been cut. So disguised, he flees from his enemies.

Among these wonderful pictures, the author provides interesting additional information about animals. We learn that female spotted hyenas are larger than males and are also responsible. We read how Kopi Luwak, “Cat Coffee” is made with the help of a reel of tape that looks like a cat and An adult plover feigns injury to lure predators away from the nest in hopes of a quick meal.

On every page of the book and with each new example of nature’s creativity, the question arises: What will come next? And that’s fun!

Books about animals and people

Steve Parker, a zoologist by training who has worked at the Natural History Museum in London and has won numerous awards for his nonfiction books. He is often happy on the road with his books on the animal world, but also deals with the human body.

book data
Steve Parker: Master of Disguise. How do animals make themselves invisible? Translated from the English by Susan Warmott. Verlag wbg Theiss 2022, 240 pages, €38, ISBN 978-3-8062-4431-1

Reference book, entertainment, eye candy

It’s a non-fiction book, 237 pages long – containing 236 large and small pictures of exactly one hundred animals – plus 3 pages of index and photo credits. There is an introduction that introduces the topic of camouflage, but at the same time draws attention to the fact that many of the described “masters of camouflage” belong to endangered species. Readers are invited to 6 continents (North America, Central and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia) and to different habitats in the seas and oceans. This geographical assignment is a criterion for the selection and arrangement of the animals presented in the book. People who like to engage with the animal world in certain regions of the world will enjoy reading this. Above all, the book is a feast for the eyes for anyone interested in animals with special abilities.

For each animal there is a column with general information on distribution, name, size, habitat, diet and degree of vulnerability, then a detailed “camouflage history” and a type of final message with additional facts in the truest sense of the word “down the line”.

So readers can focus on stories about how animals manage to go unnoticed. But you can also look at the pictures with general information. But you can also use photos and fun facts in the end.

So this book has what it takes to be both entertaining and informative. It is also a good reference book for all ages.

The endangered camouflage masters

What is left after reading this book? That, in addition to chameleons, there are quite a few creatures on the planet that can disguise themselves well using ingenious strategies, and that there are various forms of camouflage. The leaf-tailed gecko, for example, is almost fused to the bark of the tree.

Other animals avoid emanating shadows by lying on the ground. Still others decorate themselves with objects from their environment, for example designer crabs, which decorate themselves with stones, small objects and pieces of coral. This one is covered in sea anemones.

We also realize that many of the 100 animals on display are highly endangered, despite their ability to camouflage well – such as the hawksbill turtle, Tasmanian devil, ‘colored’ woolly bat, Komodo dragon, leopard and goliath frog. This book ensures that these endangered species are viewed in a very different way. W: creates a special approach to the topic of “biodiversity”. I hope it will reach many readers to show them what would be missing from our land if these masters of deceit were to die.

the reviewer
Ines Drahonovsky is responsible for conveying images at MDR WISSEN and is passionate about life in the country.

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