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Although there are many unanswered questions concerning chemical signals, scientists have been able to develop many practical applications, such as pesticides and medicine. Readers familiar with the author's work will find the same engaging style of writing that the nonscientist can easily understand.


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Yet the level of scientific detail will keep the interest of scientists as well as lay readers. Agosta provides a glimpse into the intricacies of nature that often leaves the reader in awe, but given the subject matter, how can it be any other way? Highly recommended for academic and public libraries. He opens with an interesting account of a military campaign mounted by the Protos against the Lepts.

The Protos produce a chemical weapon that causes the Lepts to become confused and attack one another. At the end of the story, readers learn that the Protos and the Lepts are ants, and that their tale is true. After this auspicious beginning, the book continues to maintain interest. The topic is important today as science struggles to find "natural" pesticides produced by plants that can benefit agriculture without destroying the environment and antibiotics to which microbes are not yet immune.

These topics and others are covered by fascinating glimpses into chemical evolution among living organisms. For those who have no interest in a plus-page excursion into chemical ecology, the book still offers great reference value. An ant enters an alien anthill and its odor attracts a war party of defending ants.


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Suddenly, the intruder uses a chemical weapon that causes the defenders to fight among themselves and ignore the intruder. The larval stage of a tree-hole mosquito feeds on a protozoan known as a ciliate. When a chemical substance emitted by the larva is detected by the one-celled ciliate, the ciliate's cell divides and converts the hunted into a parasite that invades the hunter and exterminates the menace.

This small book contains many detailed and fascinating descriptions of interspecies interactions and how nature uses chemical substances for communications, defense, and offense in the world of microbes, insects, and mammals.

Without becoming highly technical, Agosta offers an in-depth loo k at the natural world of plants and animals in a clear, interesting style that makes a complicated subject very easy to understand. Highly recommended for anyone who wishes to better understand the natural world and the part played by the various organisms humans encounter in all corners of Earth. Douville emeritus, Central Connecticut State University. Thank you for using the catalog.

Thieves, deceivers, and killers: Princeton University Press, []. Prologue - The protos and their slaves -- From protos and lepts to nature's special chemicals -- Paying ants for transportation -- Getting pollinated -- Flies and the misery they bring -- Eavesdropping as a way of life -- Success through mimicry and theft -- Bacteria: Chemical complexities in simple cells -- Delving into nature's chemicals -- Stocking the medicine chest -- Loose ends and new beginnings -- Complexity in the real world -- Capitalizing on ecology.

Summary The tobacco plant synthesizes nicotine to protect itself from herbivores. Booklist Review To find the world's most amazing chemical processes, look not at the human research in pharmaceutical laboratories but, rather, at the natural transformations in the entrails of insects, microbes, and mollusks. Publisher's Weekly Review Although humans communicate almost exclusively through language, a number of species rely heavily upon their chemical senses of smell and taste to detect or deflect danger in the environment, to petition a mate and to locate sources of food.

Choice Review An ant enters an alien anthill and its odor attracts a war party of defending ants. The Protos and Their Slaves p. Chemical Complexities in Simple Cells p. Make this your default list. The following items were successfully added. When you click on a Sponsored Product ad, you will be taken to an Amazon detail page where you can learn more about the product and purchase it. To learn more about Amazon Sponsored Products, click here.

In a detailed yet highly readable examination, more akin to a collection of short stories than a dry, scholarly inquiry, Agosta.

Publisher's Weekly From the venom that spiders use to kill their prey to the alarm pheromes that earthworms release to warn other worms of danger, Agosta explores nature's surprisingly complex and potent pharmacopoeia. Booklist Without becoming highly technical, Agosta offers an in-depth look at the natural world of plants and animals in a clear, interesting style that makes a complicated subject very easy to understand. Highly recommended for anyone who wishes to better understand the natural world and the part played by the various organisms humans encounter in all corners of Earth.

Choice Beautifully written, Thieves, Deceivers, and Killers has a cast full of plant and animal stars. Readers familiar with the author's work will find the same engaging style of writing that the nonscientist can easily understand. Library Journal The book is a delight to read. Each of the stories is told well and many are full of surprises. I strongly recommend it. Although written primarily for the nonscientist, it will be useful to scientists, particularly those who are not active workers in the field of chemical ecology. And even chemical ecologists may find new and fascinating information previously unknown to them because the field is so broadly based on all living organisms.

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Bombardier Beetles And Fever Trees: Ships from and sold by Books Mela. Customers who viewed this item also viewed. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Science and Human Values. The Demon in the Freezer: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Sponsored products related to this item What's this? Mastering Essential Math Skills for Grades The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works. The Science of Harry Potter is a witty and illuminating look at the scientific principles, theories, and assumptions of the boy wizard's world.


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  8. Being Human in the Age of Algorithms. Review In a detailed yet highly readable examination, more akin to a collection of short stories than a dry, scholarly inquiry, Agosta. Princeton University Press March 11, Language: Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video. Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers.

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    Please try again later. This book is an information feast, digestible in small bites but too rich to be downed in a single gulp. Many of the lessons in chemical ecology concern ants and their sophisticated use of biochemicals to take slaves, grow crops, and manufacture antibiotics. In another chapter called "Real-World Complexities," the author maps the annual fluctuation of Lyme disease as dependent on the interaction of deer, bacteria-carrying deer ticks, mice, oaks, and gypsy moths.

    If only we could learn from these chemical interactions, before we destroy their ecology. The author gives tantalizing glimpses at antibiotics, extremophile enzymes that don't break down when used as catalysts, fishing nets that are made out of spider webs, and many other ways we could capitalize on ecology if we took the time to learn from it. There are many good science project ideas in "Tales of Chemistry in Nature. For adults already advancing down their chosen career paths, this book is a fascinating look at what the biochemists and ecologists may be learning from nature.

    William Agosta's opening chapter explains, have kept Lept slaves from time immemorial. The slaves raise their young, gather food for them and keep their homes clean. The Protos excel only at capturing the Lepts, who are remarkably loyal to their Proto masters, even becoming ferocious participants in slave-raids on their own kind.

    Both the Protos and Lepts are tiny ants, who live out their inter dependent lives in a world no bigger than a dinner table. They are only one of the many mysteries of nature this fascinating book brings to our attention. Whereas stick insects use ants to disperse their eggs, the scuttle fly lays its eggs in the heads of the unfortunate ants it preys on. Some wasps lay their eggs within the eggs of stick insects while others fool ants into believing that their offspring are ants.

    The South American crab spider fools carpenter ants by carrying a dead ant in such a way that it walks, smells and looks like an ant. This neat trick allows the spider ant to capture and kill another dumb ant and repeat its bizarre ritual. Because some , species of insects act as pollinators of flowering plan, Agosta's fine book shows how and why a lot of deals are cut for self-survival reasons. A single pound of honey, for example, represents the nectar from about 17, foraging trips and entails 7, bee-hours of labor.

    The flowers must have all kinds of sophisticated strategies to ensure the busy bees spread their seed. The rhizanthella gardneri, an Australian orchid, must have a peculiarly singular strategy; this is because it blooms underground and depends on scuttle flies to pollinate it.

    Thieves, deceivers, and killers : tales of chemistry in nature

    Chimpanzees and parrots, meanwhile, eat special plants when they are sick and some bacteria contain particles that act as compasses. Life is strange - especially, as Agosta explains, for flower mites, which hitch rides with migrating hummingbirds, spending their summers on the California coast and winter in west-central Mexico. They do this by climbing into the bird's nostrils and alighting at the right flower to survive.

    They have less than 5 seconds to alight and achieve their "Mission Impossible". Older female mice, meanwhile, trick younger ones into not procreating, a case perhaps of brains over beauty! As well as discussing a fascinating number of such examples, Agosta ventures further to show how history has been influenced by the lowliest of creatures. Although we generally loathe flies as disgusting creatures, without them, the author shows how our destiny would have been vastly different.