Escaping From Predators: An Integrative View Of Escape Decisions
William E Cooper, Jr and Daniel T Blumstein (Eds)
Cambridge University Press, £64.99
The two questions in The Clash song 'Should I Stay Or Should I Go?' quoted in the frontispiece of this 17-chapter book are used to explore the more complex decisions that prey may make when faced with predators. The editors have brought together a huge amount of research into the behavioural ecology of escaping, with contributing authors from Australia, Brazil, Italy, Norway and elsewhere, although curiously, there's nothing from authors representing the Eastern world.
Some chapters are organised by taxa – for example, one focuses on the responses of birds and another deals with invertebrates. Several chapters cover escape theory, one discusses the use of refuges, and an intriguingly titled chapter by two authors from Spain explores 'the personality of escape'. They consider whether escape behaviour might be a personality trait. There is also a helpful chapter on 'best practice' field methodology.
Most chapters integrate the behaviour that is discussed with reference to genetics, physiology and evolution. Where relevant, life history is also explored.
Every subject is strongly supported by reference lists, some of which are substantial, and many chapters contain clear and relevant tables and graphs. Photographs, where present, are black and white.
There is some electronic supplementary material available for download at a given website. This includes additional data and information for four of the chapters.
Escaping from Predators is likely to be a key text for many animal behaviourists, and non-specialists might also enjoy dipping into it. It is probably unique in bringing together so much current theory and research on the escape decisions made by prey.
Sue Howarth CBiol FRSB