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cephalopod behaviour

Roger T Hanlon and John B Messenger
Cambridge University Press £49.99

I always find it fascinating to learn about invertebrates that in some ways mimic human behaviour, intelligence or ability to manipulate their environment – as although the likeness to us may be limited I find it interesting to learn about what we, as humans, have in common with living creatures that are very different to ourselves.

Cephalopods are remarkable animals with relatively large brains and eyes, and the ability to exhibit complex and in some cases unexpected and difficult-to-explain behaviour.

Hanlon and Messenger have produced a fantastic textbook that contains fascinating insights into the behaviour and,to an extent, physiology of various cephalopods. Details of up-to-date science are included and carefully referenced, with encouragements to research students to help to advance the current state of knowledge and understanding. Various gaps in current knowledge are clearly identified as interesting areas of study that may lead to new insights and understanding.

The book is a joy to read and, while academic and fact packed in nature, it is quite a page turner if you are interested in marine biology. The chapter detailing information about cephalopods’ vision and their ability to camouflage themselves was particularly interesting, and I highly recommend reading this.

Dr Amanda Hardy MRSB

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