The essentials of animal life are relatively simple—
finding food, self-defense, reproduction, and
dispersal—but the ways in which animals achieve
these things are extraordinarily complex and varied.
From amazing hunting strategies and extraordinary
defenses to stunning mating rituals and complex relationships, the
wealth of different behaviors reflects the diversity of animals and the
huge range of physical and social environments in which they live.
Animals populate every corner of the globe from the bottom of the sea
to mountain peaks and from the Equator to the poles; they may live in
groups of thousands or meet others of their kind just once in a lifetime.
An animal’s behavior depends to a large extent on its form and
evolutionary history, and the first two parts of this book provide a clear
and comprehensive description of the major groups of animals and their
evolution, anatomy, and senses. The main part of this book then looks
at animals in action. It is divided into eight chapters that look at different
aspects of animals’ lives, although these are not always mutually
exclusive. It doesn’t attempt to provide a complete catalog of all animal
behavior—that would run to many volumes and is expanding all the
time. Nevertheless, it is an extensive overview of our current knowledge
of animal behavior, including typical and unusual behaviors in different
animal groups, classic studies, and new discoveries.