Bombardier Beetles and Fever Trees: A Close-Up Look at Chemical Warfare and Signals in Animals and Plants
Whether fighting off a hungry predator with an explosive burst of rocket fuel, or tantalizing a potential mate with a provocative perfume, organisms utilize built-in chemistry to go about their business. Animals and plants send each other warning signals and even broadcast calls for help, as well as create protective camouflage, make glue, lay trails, and poison their enemies. Bombardier Beetles and Fever Trees unravels the mystery behind these chemical weapons and communication schemes, providing a provocative study of the dynamic world of interspecies competition. In addition, author William Agosta discloses how we take advantage of many of the chemicals found in nature - from quinine, found in the bark of the fever tree and used to treat malaria, to taxol (from the Pacific yew), which is used in the treatment of breast cancer. This field of chemical ecology affects almost all aspects of life, and this book - the first of its kind - gives a fascinating view of these intense chemical interactions.
Author: William C. Agosta
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Perseus Books (May 1997)