Covering diverse species from garter snakes to Komodo dragons, this book delves into the evolutionary origins and fascinating details of the mysterious social lives of reptiles.
Reptiles have been too often dismissed as dull animals with tiny brains and simple, "asocial" lives. In reality, reptiles engage in a remarkable diversity of complex social behavior. They can live in families; communicate with one another while still in the egg; and hunt, feed, migrate, court, mate, nest, and hatch in groups. In The Secret Social Lives of Reptiles, J. Sean Doody, Vladimir Dinets, and Gordon M. Burghardt—three of the world's leading experts on reptiles—bring together a wave of new research with a synthesis of classic studies to produce the only authoritative look at the social behaviors of the most provocative animals on the planet.
The book covers turtles, lizards, snakes, crocodilians, and the enigmatic tuatara. Enhanced with dozens of images, it takes readers through a myriad of social interactions, tendencies, and intimacies ranging from fierce territorial battles to delicate paternal care and from promiscuous pairings to monogamous partnerships. This unique text
• explains why reptiles have been neglected as subjects of social behavior studies;
• provides numerous examples across all major reptilian groups that overturn the false paradigm of "solitary" reptiles;
• explores the sensory, genetic, physiological, life history, and other factors underlying social behavior in reptiles;
• presents the case that evolutionary "experiments" found among reptiles offer unparalleled opportunities for understanding how and why social behavior evolves in animals; and
• identifies new and developing areas of research helping to reshape our view of reptiles.
Revealing the secrets of reptilian social relationships through original quantitative research, field studies, laboratory experiments, and careful analysis of the literature, The Secret Social Lives of Reptiles elevates these fascinating animals to key players in the science of behavioral ecology.
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