NEW INVERTEBRATE BOOKS
Spiders | Echinoderms | Cephalopods | and more


Hello from Andrew Isles Natural History Books.

The following invertebrate books are now in stock. Some highlights include:

***A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia - Featuring over 1,300 stunning colour photographs, this is the most comprehensive account of Australian spiders ever published.
***Australian Echinoderms - An authoritative account of Australia’s 110 families of echinoderms, this book brings together comprehensive information on identification, biology, evolution and ecology.
***Other Minds - Tracing the question of inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Godfrey-Smith casts crucial new light on the octopus mind - and on our own.

Clicking on the links will take you directly to the stock record on our website where you will find more information and our secure shopping cart. If you want to email your order to us you can simply reply to this email and quote the stock ID of the book/s.

If you have any questions regarding these or other titles, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Kind regards
Andrew Isles


Image for this item
[Stock ID:39593]  A field guide to spiders of Australia.
Whyte, Robert and Greg Anderson.
Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing, 2017.
Octavo, paperback, 452 pp., colour photographs.
AU$50.00


This excellent field guide uses photographs of live animals to enable identification of commonly encountered spiders to the family level and, in some cases, to genus and species. Featuring over 1,300 stunning colour photographs, it is the most comprehensive account of Australian spiders ever published. Covers all known Australian spider families and contains the most up-to-date taxonomy information. With more than two-thirds of Australian spiders yet to be scientifically described, this book sets the scene for future explorations of our extraordinary Australian fauna. 


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Image for this item [Stock ID:39497]  Britain's spiders: a field guide.
Bee, Lawrence, Geoff Oxford and Helen Smith.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017.
Octavo, paperback, 480 pp., colour photographs, maps.
AU$69.00

A photographic guide to all 37 of the British families, with a focus on spiders that can be identified in the field. Containing over 300 stunning photographs, it is designed to be accessible to a wide audience, including those new to spider identification. This book pushes the boundaries of field identification for this challenging group by combining information on features that can be seen with the naked eye or a hand lens with additional evidence from webs, egg-sacs, behaviour, phenology, habitats and distributions. Individual accounts cover 390 of Britain's approximately 660 species, with the limitations to field identification explained. As the first photographic field guide to British spiders to be published since 1989, this book fills a major gap in the resources available to everyone with an interest in this fascinating, diverse and important group of animals.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:39594]  Australian echinoderms: biology, ecology and evolution.
Byrne, Maria and Timothy O’Hara, editors.
Clayton South: CSIRO Publishing, 2017.
Quarto, laminated boards, 612 pp., colour photographs, text illustrations, graphs.
AU$180.00

Echinoderms, including feather stars, sea stars, brittle stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers, are some of the most beautiful and interesting animals in the sea. They play an important ecological role and several species of sea urchins and sea cucumbers form the basis of important fisheries. Over 1000 species live in Australian waters, from the shoreline to the depths of the abyssal plain and the tropics to Antarctic waters. Australian Echinoderms is an authoritative account of Australia’s 110 families of echinoderms. It brings together comprehensive information on the identification, biology, evolution, ecology and management of these animals in a single volume for the first time. Richly illustrated with beautiful photographs and written in an accessible style, Australian Echinoderms is the perfect companion of marine enthusiasts, academics and fisheries managers both in Australia and anywhere these fascinating animals are studied.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:39563]  Other minds: the octopus and the evolution of intelligent life.
Godfrey-Smith, Peter.
London: Harper Collins Publishers, 2017.
Octavo, paperback, 255 pp., colour and black and white photographs, black and white illustrations.
AU$28.00

What if intelligent life on Earth evolved not once, but twice? The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter? In Other Minds, Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished philosopher of science and a skilled scuba diver, tells a bold new story of how nature became aware of itself - a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared. Tracking the mind's fitful development from unruly clumps of seaborne cells to the first evolved nervous systems in ancient relatives of jellyfish, he explores the incredible evolutionary journey of the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous molluscs who would later abandon their shells to rise above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so - a journey completely independent from the route that mammals and birds would later take. But what kind of intelligence do cephalopods possess? How did the octopus, a solitary creature with little social life, become so smart? What is it like to have eight tentacles that are so packed with neurons that they virtually 'think for themselves'? By tracing the question of inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Godfrey-Smith casts crucial new light on the octopus mind - and on our own.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:39451]  Slugs and snails.
Cameron, Robert.
London: Harper Collins Publishers, 2016.
Octavo, paperback, 510 pp., colour photographs, text illustrations, maps.
AU$85.00

New Naturalist # 133. Slugs and snails are part of the great Phylum Mollusca, a group that contains creatures as varied as the fast-moving squid or the sedentary clams, cockles and mussels. The largest group, however, are the gastropods, animals originally with a single foot and a single coiled shell. They are the only group of molluscs to have representatives living on land as well as in the sea and freshwaters. This book is about the slugs and snails that live on land. For creatures living on land they are bizarre: snails carry a huge weight of shell; both snails and slugs move slowly relative to their potential enemies; and most are not well camouflaged. Their wet bodies are at the mercy of dry weather and their movement is very wasteful of energy and water. Despite all this, they are found from the tundra through to deserts, and on all continents apart from Antarctica. They have reached the most remote oceanic islands and undergone amazing evolutionary developments. In terms of species, they outnumber all land vertebrates. As pests, slugs and snails are all too familiar. The damage that they can cause in our gardens and to agricultural crops can be considerable and they are remarkably tenacious and thus difficult to control. In this long-anticipated New Naturalist volume, Robert Cameron introduces us to this remarkable group of gastropods. While dealing with the natural history of slugs and snails of the British Isles it also ventures across the world to explore the wide range of structures and ways of life of slugs and snails, particularly their sometimes bizarre mating habits, which in turn help to illuminate the ways in which evolution has shaped the living world. Snails can be and have been used to explore important ideas in evolutionary biology, in biogeography and in ecology, and Cameron draws out these explorations, looking specifically at the role of evolution in determining how our understanding of snails has developed over the years. Also available in hardcover [Stock ID: 39452]. 

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 A SELECTION OF RELATED TITLES

Image for this item [Stock ID:36888]  A guide to the spiders of Australia.
Framenau, Volker W., Barbara C. Baehr and Paul Zborowski.
London: New Holland Publishers, (2017 reprint).
Octavo, paperback, limp plastic, 448 pp., colour photographs, line drawings.
AU$50.00


A comprehensive guide to cover all 79 spider families that occur in Australia. This book contains nearly 400 colour photographs of spiders and their webs, many of which have never been published before. The detailed introduction covers spider structure, evolution, reproduction, silk and venom, and family characteristics.


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Image for this item [Stock ID:19250]  Spiders of Australia: an introduction to their classification, biology and distribution.
Hawkeswood, Trevor J.
Sofia: Pensoft, 2003.
Small quarto, paperback, 264 pp., 166 colour plates.
AU$45.00

Spiders of Australia: an introduction to their classification, biology and distribution describes and illustrates over 150 species of Australian spiders. A detailed summary of spider morphology, biology and classification is also included. All families are described in detail and the numbers of each family are listed on Australian and world levels. Most of the major genera of each family are described and illustrated. 

Also available in hardcover [stock id 19251].


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Image for this item [Stock ID:17905]  Spiders and scorpions commonly found in Victoria.
Walker, Ken et al.
Melbourne: Royal Society of Victoria, 2003.
Octavo, paperback, 144 pp., colour photographs, text illustrations.
AU$25.00


Common and scientific names are given together with a detailed contents list and index to make for quick identification of our spiders and scorpions. Includes notes on habitats, the biology and the venoms of species described.


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Image for this item [Stock ID:14836]  Green guide to spiders of Australia.
Lindsey, Terence.
Sydney: New Holland, (2001 reprint).
Small octavo, paperback, 96 pp., colour photographs.
AU$19.00


Fact panels throughout cover a wide range of topics. The pages are alive with entertaining and informative text accompanied by exciting action photography. Other green guides in the series are frogs; parrots; sharks and rays; birds; snakes and other reptiles; and mammals.


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Image for this item [Stock ID:13908]  Spiderwatch: a guide to Australian spiders.
Brunet, Bert.
Frenchs Forest: Reed New Holland, (2008 reprint).
Octavo, paperback, 176 pp., 200 colour photographs, colour drawings.
AU$30.00


An easy-to-use and practical field manual. More than 100 of the most frequently encountered Australian spiders are shown, with information on toxicity, habitat and prey capture. Gives advice on first aid for treating bites from Australia's dangerous spiders.


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Image for this item [Stock ID:34657]  Spiders of the Greater Brisbane region.
Raven, Robert and Owen Seeman.
Brisbane: Queensland Museum, 2008.
Duodecimo, paperback, 68 pp., colour photographs, line drawings, map.
AU$12.00


Highlights the many spiders encountered in homes, gardens and bushland in the Greater Brisbane Region. Each species description includes a full-colour photograph and concise information on key features, habitat and distribution.


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Image for this item [Stock ID:33426]  Australian assassins, part 1: a review of the assassin spiders (Araneae, Archaeidae) of mid-eastern Australia.
Rix, Michael G. and Mark S. Harvey.
Sofia: Pensoft, 2011.
Octavo, paperback, 100 pp., colour photographs, line drawings, maps.
AU$65.00

Zoo Keys 123. The assassin spiders of the family Archaeidae are an ancient and iconic lineage of basal araneomorph spiders, characterised by a specialised araneophagic ecology and unique, ‘pelican-like' cephalic morphology. Found throughout the rainforests, wet sclerophyll forests and mesic heathlands of south-western, south-eastern and north-eastern Australia, the genus Austrarchaea Forster & Platnick, 1984 includes a diverse assemblage of relictual, largely short-range endemic species. With recent dedicated field surveys and significant advances in our understanding of archaeid biology and ecology, numerous new species of assassin spiders have been discovered in the montane sub-tropical and warm-temperate closed forests of mid-eastern Australia, including several rare or enigmatic taxa and species of conservation concern.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:34714]  Australian assassins, part II: a review of the new assassin spider genus Zephyrarchaea (Araneae, Archaeidae) from southern Australia.
Rix, Michael G. and Mark S. Harvey.
Sofia: Pensoft, 2012.
Octavo, paperback, 62 pp., colour and black and white photographs, colour illustrations, line drawings, maps.
AU$35.00

Zoo Keys 191. The assassin spiders of the family Archaeidae from southern Australia are revised, with a new genus (Zephyrarchaea gen. n.) and nine new species described from temperate, mesic habitats in southern Victoria, South Australia and south-western Western Australia: Z. austini sp. n., Z. barrettae sp. n., Z. grayi sp. n., Z. janineae sp. n., Z. marae sp. n., Z. marki sp. n., Z. elindae sp. n., Z. porchi sp. n. and Z. vichickmani sp. n. Specimens of the type species, Z. mainae (Platnick, 1991), comb. n., are redescribed from the Albany region of Western Australia, along with the holotype female of Z. robinsi (Harvey, 2002) comb. n. from the Stirling Range National Park. The previously described species Archaea hickmani Butler, 1929 from Victoria is here recognised as a nomen dubium. A key to species and multi-locus molecular phylogeny complement the species-level taxonomy, with maps, habitat photos, natural history information and conservation assessments provided for all species.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:33425]  The spider Family Selenopidae (Arachnida, Araneae) in Australia and the oriental region.
Crews, Sarah C. and Mark S. Harvey.
Sofia: Pensoft, 2011.
Octavo, paperback, 103 pp., colour photographs, line drawings, maps.
AU$70.00

Zoo Keys 99. The Selenopidae are a family of medium to large spiders with extremely flattened bodies. They are exceptional in that both their running and striking speeds place them amongst the world's fastest animals. They occur in all habitable continents but are most abundant in tropical and adjacent realms. Selenopid spiders are usually found under rocks or under tree bark, and have the ability to squeeze into tight crevices. The family currently comprises around 200 species in five genera. In this monograph, four new genera and 27 new species are described from Australia and the Oriental Region, bringing the world total to nine genera and over 230 species. Several species previously placed in Selenops are transferred to the new genera. The Australian fauna is found to be more diverse than previously documented with a total of 24 species, 23 of which are new. A key to genera of the Selenpidae is provided, as are keys to the species of the new genera Karaops and Makdiops.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:8972]  Spiders of Britain and Northern Europe.
Roberts, Michael J.
London: Harper Collins, (2001 reprint).
Octavo, dustwrapper, 383 pp., illustrations.
AU$29.00


Over 450 species illustrated. This comprehensive field guide to spiders is a must for all arachnophiles everywhere and a vital introduction for all other naturalists. It provides general information on the structure and biology of spiders, together with detailed illustrations of webs and egg sacs.


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Image for this item [Stock ID:32658]  Spider behaviour: flexibility and versatility.
Herberstein, Marie Elisabeth, editor.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.
Octavo, paperback, 391 pp., colour and black and white photographs, line drawings.
AU$75.00

Spiders are often underestimated as suitable behavioural models because of the general belief that due to their small brains their behaviour is innate and mostly invariable. Challenging this assumption, this fascinating book shows that rather than having a limited behavioural repertoire, spiders show surprising cognitive abilities, changing their behaviour to suit their situational needs. The team of authors unravels the considerable intra-specific as well as intra-individual variability and plasticity in different behaviours ranging from foraging and web building to communication and courtship. An introductory chapter on spider biology, systematics and evolution provides the reader with the necessary background information to understand the discussed behaviours and helps to place them into an evolutionary context. Highlighting an under-explored area of behaviour, this book will provide new ideas for behavioural researchers and students unfamiliar with spiders as well as a valuable resource for those already working in this intriguing field. Also available in hardcover [stock id 32659].

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Image for this item [Stock ID:34288]  Fossil spiders: the evolutionary history of a mega-diverse order.
Penney, David and Paul A. Selden.
Manchester: Siri Scientific Press, 2011.
Octavo, laminated boards, 128 pp., black and white photographs, other illustrations.
AU$70.00

Provides general and up to date background information on the overall importance and diversity of fossil spiders, including an indication of those groups for which the taxonomy is spurious and in need of reassessment. Discusses the techniques available for working with fossil spiders and some of the problems encountered by palaeoarachnologists, including bias and limitations of the spider fossil record. The overall evolutionary history of spiders is summarized in the form of an evolutionary tree, which is subsequently used to address key issues of broad interest, such as origins, diversifications and extinctions, including the effects of mass extinctions and predator-prey co-radiations. Finally, the contribution that fossil data can make to understanding the past and present biogeography of the order is considered.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:28417]  Spiders: learning to love them.
Kelly, Lynne.
Crows Nest: Allen and Unwin, 2009.
Octavo, paperback, 272 pp., colour photographs, black and white photographs.
AU$30.00

An introduction to spiders. By observing and studying spiders in the world around her, and learning from experts and biologists, the author came to love these misunderstood members of the animal kingdom. As well as being an authoritative book on spiders this is a personal account of conquering arachnophobia and how any arachnophobe can do the same. See the world of your daily life in a new way, as Lynne introduces you to your tiny housemates in the ceiling corners, burrowed beneath your feet, under the sink and at the bottom of the garden. Spiders are everywhere. No matter how clean, how stark, how sterile your home, the spiders will come. Spiderlings will balloon in and wait for the insects that will come. Adult spiders will walk in. As you destroy one, another will take its place. Spiders are like that. As you are reading, you are almost certainly in the company of spiders. In a dark recess, whether under your couch or behind the buffet, the cupboard spider sits on her tangled web patiently waiting for dinner. The house spider has just emerged from her funnelled web in the corner of the window to wait, just as patiently, for flying insects to flutter into her net. Under the eaves, a delicate common house spider has her tiny brood around her on the web.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:28687]  Spiders: the ultimate predators.
Dalton, Stephen.
London: A & C Black, 2008.
Quarto, dustwrapper, 208 pp., colour photographs.
AU$50.00


Stephen Dalton's detailed photographs chronicle the diversity of the spider world. Chapters are divided along broad ecological themes, with each focusing on different species, their habitats, hunting techniques, ecology and behaviour. Also featured are chapters on spider anatomy, and a guide to photographing them.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:35655]  Sea urchins: biology and ecology.
Lawrence, John M.
London: Elsevier Science Publishers, (2013 third edition),
Quarto, laminated boards, 531 pp., colour and black and white photographs.
AU$236.00

This fully revised and expanded edition provides a wide-ranging understanding of the biology and ecology of this key component of the world's oceans. Coverage includes reproduction, metabolism, endocrinology, larval ecology, growth, digestion, carotenoids, disease and nutrition. Other chapters consider the ecology of individual species that are of major importance ecologically and economically, including species from Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, North America, South America and Africa. In addition, six new contributions in areas such as immunology, digestive systems and community ecology inform readers on key recent developments and insights from the literature. As a major phylum, sea urchins are ecologically important and often greatly affect marine communities. Because they have an excellent fossil record, they are also of interest to palaeontologists. Research on sea urchins has increased in recent years, stimulated first by recognition of their ecological importance and subsequently their economic importance. Scientists around the world are actively investigating their potential for aquaculture and fisheries, and their value as model systems for investigations in developmental biology continues to increase. It continues the series "Developments in Aquaculture and Fisheries Science" with a newly revised volume. It collects and synthesizes the state of knowledge of sea urchin biology and ecology. It is expanded from previous edition to include non-edible species, providing the needed basis for broader evolutionary understanding of sea urchins.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:35552]  Starfish: biology and ecology of the Asteroidea.
Lawrence, John M. editor.
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.
Octavo, laminated boards, 267 pp., colour and black and white photographs, illustrations, maps.
AU$134.00

A comprehensive volume devoted to the integrative and comparative biology and ecology of starfish. Written by the world's leading experts, the integrative section covers topics such as reproduction, developmental biology and ecology, larval ecology, and the ecological role of starfish as a group. Filled with detailed, scientifically accurate illustrations and the latest research findings, this book examines the important role of these invertebrates in the marine environment, a topic of great interest because of their impact on the food web. As major predators that are able to evert their stomach and wrap it around their prey, starfish can have a significant impact on commercial fisheries. Starfish are of interest not only to echinoderm specialists but also to marine biologists and invertebrate zoologists in general and, increasingly, to the medical community. A starfish's ability to regenerate body parts is almost unequalled in the animal world, making them ideal models for basic science studies on the topic.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:25280]  Sea stars: Echinoderms of the Asia/Indo-Pacific.
Coleman, Neville.
Neville Coleman, 2007.
Octavo, paperback, 136 pp., colour photographs.
AU$30.00


A comprehensive photo–guide to the living Echinoderms of the Asia/Indo-Pacific Region. Includes over 1250 full colour images, family names, common names and scientific names, up-to-date taxonomic identifications by world authorities. Coverage includes examples of all Classes: Sea Stars, Brittle Stars, Feather Stars, Sea Urchins and Sea Cucumbers.


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Image for this item [Stock ID:14965]  Tasmanian echinoderms.
Dartnall, Alan.
Hobart: University of Tasmania, 1980.
Octavo, wrappers, 84 pp., text illustrations, maps.
AU$20.00


Fauna of Tasmania Handbook No. 3. Includes keys to classes of Echinodermata and distribution maps.


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Image for this item [Stock ID:34641]  Shores and shallows of Coffin Bay: an identification guide.
Saunders, Brian.
Marleston: Printmax, (2012 second edition).
Octavo, paperback, 224 pp., colour photographs, map.
AU$25.00


This photographic guide aids identification, describes habitats within Coffin Bay and includes some notes on the species. Most of the species illustrated are also found in other semi-enclosed bays of the west coast of South Australia, and many in the quiet waters of the gulfs.


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Image for this item [Stock ID:38909]  Cephalopods of Australia and Sub-Antarctic territories.
Reid, Amanda.
Clayton South: CSIRO Publishing, 2016.
Quarto, laminated boards, 446 pp., colour photographs, illustrations, line drawings, maps.
AU$280.00

Australian waters are home to the highest diversity of cephalopods (squid, cuttlefish and octopus) found anywhere in the world. Highly significant ecologically, they are both top-level predators and prey for numerous vertebrates, including fishes, seals, cetaceans and seabirds. This new guide provides comprehensive coverage of 226 species, which represent over a quarter of the world's cephalopod fauna. With an emphasis on identification, this book includes keys, species descriptions, full-colour illustrations and distribution maps, as well as a summary of the biology and behaviour of cephalopods and fisheries information. This is an invaluable tool for researchers and fisheries experts as well as amateur naturalists, fishers and divers.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:37590]  Octopus: the most mysterious creature in the sea.
Courage, Katherine Harmon.
New York: Penguin, 2015.
Octavo, paperback, 238 pp., black and white photographs.
AU$27.00

Octopuses have been captivating humans for as long as we have been catching them. Yet for all of our ancient fascination and modern research, we still have not been able to get a firm grasp on these enigmatic creatures. Katherine Harmon Courage dives into the mystifying underwater world of the octopus and reports on her research around the world. She reveals, for instance, that the oldest known octopus lived before the first dinosaurs and that two thirds of an octopus's brain capacity is spread throughout its arms. Filled with interviews with leading experts, this book is both entertaining and scientifically grounded.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:31428]  Octopus: the ocean's intelligent invertebrate.
Mather, Jennifer A., Roland C. Anderson, and James B. Wood.
Portland OR: Timber Press, 2010.
Octavo, dustwrapper, 208 pp., colour photographs.
AU$37.00

In this beautifully photographed book, three leading marine biologists bring readers face to face with these amazingly complex animals that have fascinated scientists for decades. From the molluscan ancestry of today's Octopus to its ingenious anatomy, amazing mating and predatory behaviors, and other-worldly relatives, the authors take readers through the astounding life cycle, uncovering the details of distinctive octopus personalities.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:12043]  Cephalopod behaviour.
Hanlon, Roger T. and John B. Messenger.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Octavo, paperback, 232 pp., colour photographs, other illustrations.
AU$110.00


This book examines the complex behaviour of cephalapods, summarizing field and laboratory data from a wide variety of sources in the first comprehensive account of the life of cephalapods in their natural habitats.


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Image for this item [Stock ID:31021]  Dangerous marine animals.
Bergbauer, Matthias, Robert F. Myers, and Manuela Kirschner.
London: A & C Black, 2010.
Octavo, paperback with plastic cover, 384 pp., colour photographs, maps.
AU$75.00

This guide to the marine environment covers all forms of sealife. It describes colenterates, molluscs, crustacea, urochordates, fish, reptiles, seabirds, cetaceans and sea mammals. The book opens with a section on oceanography and marine biology which explains the complex and fascinating processes that created the oceans as we know them today. Part I covers the invertebrates. As they are a diverse group, typical regional invertebrate habitats are described which give an insight into the complex niches and relationships that exist. Part II covers the vertebrates. It opens with 48 plates illustrating the majority of species likely to be encountered on the oceans. In the fish plates, some species are illustrated for the first time. The seabirds, cetaceans, sea reptiles and sea mammals are also comprehensively illustrated. The plate section is followed by a systematic section on each group. The book should prove useful to the seafarer, and provide information to anyone interested in the marine environment.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:37592]  Snailing round the South Seas: the Partula story.
Gerlach, Justin.
Cambridge: Phelsuma Press, 2014.
Octavo, paperback, 172 pp., colour photographs, illustrations, maps.
AU$35.00

The story of the tree snails of the Pacific Islands runs from Captain Cook's first voyage of exploration, through the start of evolutionary theory and the development of the science of genetics. This book traces this history through the surprisingly central role played by a group of snails, ultimately leading into their struggle for survival in the modern world. Partula snails almost disappeared in the most rapid extinction event known so far and the survivors are among the rarest species on earth. Once more these snails have been at the heart of new developments, this time in conservation biology.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:35138]  Slow passion: snails, my garden and me.
Brooks, Ruth.
London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013.
Octavo, dustwrapper, 242 pp.
AU$30.00

When BBC Radio 4's Material World programme announced a search for the UK's top amateur scientist, little did anyone expect that the winning experiment would comprise one of our humblest garden pests. Ruth Brooks posed this question: Do snails have a homing instinct? The nation was gripped by the unexpected thesis and by Ruth's online diaries, which catalogued her trials and tribulations as she got to grips with these slimy little gastropods. A Slow Passion is Ruth's story, with anecdotes and misadventures galore. What starts out as a ruthless vendetta against the snails that are decimating her hostas becomes a journey of discovery into the whys and wherefores of snail life. When Ruth dumps a group of the worst offending snails in a far-off wood, she decides to paint their shells with nail varnish, just to see what happens. And guess what, they come back home. This is the beginning of an obsession that sees the grandmother-turned-scientist prowling about and pouncing on the snails in her garden, sneaking off on night-time missions to repatriate bucketloads of painted snails, reading up on the sex-life of snails (which turns out to be unexpectedly romantic) and, eventually, sending off the application to a national competition for home science. With charming illustrations, A Slow Passion is a sweet, funny and surprising investigation into the hidden life of snails, which will change the way you look at the smaller (and slower) things in life.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:32533]  Sound of a wild snail eating.
Bailey, Elisabeth Tova.
Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2011.
Octavo, paperback, 184 pp.
AU$23.00

In a work that beautifully demonstrates the rewards of closely observing nature, Elisabeth Tova Bailey shares an inspiring and intimate story of her uncommon encounter with a Neohelix albolabris a common woodland snail. While an illness keeps her bedridden, Bailey watches a wild snail that has taken up residence on her nightstand. As a result, she discovers the solace and sense of wonder that this mysterious creature brings and comes to a greater understanding of the interconnections between species and her own human place in the natural world. Intrigued by the snail's molluscan anatomy, cryptic defences, clear decision making, hydraulic locomotion, and mysterious courtship activities, Bailey becomes an astute and amused observer, providing a candid and engaging look into the curious life of this overlooked and under appreciated small animal.

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Image for this item [Stock ID:33086]  Snail.
Williams, Peter.
London: Reaktion Books, 2009.
Octavo, paperback, 167 pp., colour photographs, black and white and colour illustrations.
AU$25.00

Reaktion Animal Series. For most of us, snails do not elicit feelings of warmth or affection. Apart from our repugnance at its appearance, our relationship with the snail has been influenced by the harm it has inflicted over the years on our garden seedlings. With this book, Williams wishes to change our perspectives on this little but much maligned creature. Beginning with an overview of our relationship with snails, slugs and sea-snails, Williams goes on to examine snail evolution; snail behaviour and habitat; snails as food, medicine and the source of useful chemicals and dyes; snail shells as collectible objects; and snails in literature, art and popular culture. The book concludes with a plea for a reconsideration of the snail as a dignified, ancient creature that deserves our respect, rather than one to be thoughtlessly squashed underfoot after a shower of rain.

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Andrew Isles Natural History Books
Rear of 115-117 Greville Street
(PO Box 2305)
Prahran 3181 Melbourne Australia

www.AndrewIsles.com
Phone [61] (03) 9510 5750
Fax [61] (03) 9529 1256
Email: books@AndrewIsles.com

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