Extraordinary Animals is now on sale. The 300-page hardback book, with a 5-star rating on Amazon.com, describes 120 animal species whose mind-boggling biology will amaze and inspire readers. This book will captivate anyone with an interest in animal life. It covers animal behaviour, ecology, evolution, reproduction and interactions between species. Extraordinary Animals describes minuscule insects, giant mammals and a host of bizarre parasites. The writing is accessible and engaging, and detailed black-and-white ink drawings illustrate each entry (see examples here). The book's author Ross Piper and illustrator Mike Shanahan both have doctorates in biology from the University of Leeds, United Kingdom. Follow this link to order a copy from Amazon.co.uk.
Burying Beetles can detect a dead bird or small mammal from eight kilometres away. Without the corpse, they cannot breed. After finding a suitable body — a dead mouse, for instance — adult Burying Beetles will mate and then bury the corpse. The female lays her eggs in the pit and then both adults will shape the decaying animal into a lump of matter. When the eggs hatch, the beetle larvae feed on the dead rodent then burrow through the soil and emerge as adults to complete the cycle. Read more about this species in Extraordinary Animals.
Cone Shells are relatives of snails that live in tropical and sub-tropical seas. Unlike snails, which feed on plants, Cone Shells are carnivores. They can impale prey species on a hollow, harpoon-like tooth which they then use to deliver a potent nerve poison. Within seconds the prey animal – such as this Clown Fish – is paralysed and can be drawn into the Cone Shell’s stomach to be digested. Read more about this species in Extraordinary Animals.
The New Zealand Bat-Fly is a wingless insect that only lives in hollow trees alongside Short-tailed Bats at the Northern tip of New Zealand’s North Island. It feeds on bat droppings so it never worries about where its next meal is coming from. But when the bat-fly colony gets too big, some of the adults will climb onto a bat and grip tightly in the hope that they will be carried to a less crowded roost. Read more about this species in Extraordinary Animals.