What a Fish Knows

Author: Jonathan Balcombe
Publisher: Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374714338
Release Date: 2016-06-07
Genre: Nature

A New York Times Bestseller Do fishes think? Do they really have three-second memories? And can they recognize the humans who peer back at them from above the surface of the water? In What a Fish Knows, the myth-busting ethologist Jonathan Balcombe addresses these questions and more, taking us under the sea, through streams and estuaries, and to the other side of the aquarium glass to reveal the surprising capabilities of fishes. Although there are more than thirty thousand species of fish—more than all mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians combined—we rarely consider how individual fishes think, feel, and behave. Balcombe upends our assumptions about fishes, portraying them not as unfeeling, dead-eyed feeding machines but as sentient, aware, social, and even Machiavellian—in other words, much like us. What a Fish Knows draws on the latest science to present a fresh look at these remarkable creatures in all their breathtaking diversity and beauty. Fishes conduct elaborate courtship rituals and develop lifelong bonds with shoalmates. They also plan, hunt cooperatively, use tools, curry favor, deceive one another, and punish wrongdoers. We may imagine that fishes lead simple, fleeting lives—a mode of existence that boils down to a place on the food chain, rote spawning, and lots of aimless swimming. But, as Balcombe demonstrates, the truth is far richer and more complex, worthy of the grandest social novel. Highlighting breakthrough discoveries from fish enthusiasts and scientists around the world and pondering his own encounters with fishes, Balcombe examines the fascinating means by which fishes gain knowledge of the places they inhabit, from shallow tide pools to the deepest reaches of the ocean. Teeming with insights and exciting discoveries, What a Fish Knows offers a thoughtful appraisal of our relationships with fishes and inspires us to take a more enlightened view of the planet’s increasingly imperiled marine life. What a Fish Knows will forever change how we see our aquatic cousins—the pet goldfish included.

What a Fish Knows

Author: Jonathan Balcombe
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9780374288211
Release Date: 2016-06-07
Genre: Nature

Do fishes think? Do they really have three-second memories? And can they recognize the humans who peer back at them from above the surface of the water? In What a Fish Knows, the myth-busting ethologist Jonathan Balcombe addresses these questions and more, taking us under the sea, through streams and estuaries, and to the other side of the aquarium glass to reveal the surprising capabilities of fishes. Although there are more than thirty thousand species of fish—more than all mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians combined—we rarely consider how individual fishes think, feel, and behave. Balcombe upends our assumptions about fishes, portraying them not as unfeeling, dead-eyed feeding machines but as sentient, aware, social, and even Machiavellian—in other words, much like us. What a Fish Knows draws on the latest science to present a fresh look at these remarkable creatures in all their breathtaking diversity and beauty. Fishes conduct elaborate courtship rituals and develop lifelong bonds with shoalmates. They also plan, hunt cooperatively, use tools, curry favor, deceive one another, and punish wrongdoers. We may imagine that fishes lead simple, fleeting lives—a mode of existence that boils down to a place on the food chain, rote spawning, and lots of aimless swimming. But, as Balcombe demonstrates, the truth is far richer and more complex, worthy of the grandest social novel. Highlighting breakthrough discoveries from fish enthusiasts and scientists around the world and pondering his own encounters with fishes, Balcombe examines the fascinating means by which fishes gain knowledge of the places they inhabit, from shallow tide pools to the deepest reaches of the ocean. Teeming with insights and exciting discoveries, What a Fish Knows offers a thoughtful appraisal of our relationships with fishes and inspires us to take a more enlightened view of the planet’s increasingly imperiled marine life. What a Fish Knows will forever change how we see our aquatic cousins—the pet goldfish included.

Pleasurable Kingdom

Author: Jonathan Balcombe
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 0230552277
Release Date: 2006-05-02
Genre: Science

The recognition of animal pain and stress, once controversial, is now acknowledged by legislation in many countries, but there is no formal recognition of animals' ability to feel pleasure. Pleasurable Kingdom is the first book for lay-readers to present new evidence that animals--like humans--enjoy themselves. It debunks the popular perception that life for most is a continuous, grim struggle for survival and the avoidance of pain. Instead it suggests that creatures from birds to baboons feel good thanks to play, sex, touch, food, anticipation, comfort, aesthetics, and more. Combining rigorous evidence, elegant argument and amusing anecdotes, leading animal behavior researcher Jonathan Balcombe proposes that the possibility of positive feelings in creatures other than humans has important ethical ramifications for both science and society.

Do Fish Feel Pain

Author: Victoria Braithwaite
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191613968
Release Date: 2010-03-25
Genre: Sports & Recreation

While there has been increasing interest in recent years in the welfare of farm animals, fish are frequently thought to be different. In many people's perception, fish, with their lack of facial expressions or recognisable communication, are not seen to count when it comes to welfare. Angling is a major sport, and fishing a big industry. Millions of fish are caught on barbed hooks, or left to die by suffocation on the decks of fishing boats. Here, biologist Victoria Braithwaite explores the question of fish pain and fish suffering, explaining what we now understand about fish behaviour, and examining the related ethical questions about how we should treat these animals. She asks why the question of pain in fish has not been raised earlier, indicating our prejudices and assumptions; and argues that the latest and growing scientific evidence would suggest that we should widen to fish the protection currently given to birds and mammals.

Second Nature

Author: Jonathan Balcombe
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 0230109268
Release Date: 2010-03-16
Genre: Science

For centuries we believed that humans were the only ones that mattered. The idea that animals had feelings was either dismissed or considered heresy. Today, that's all changing. New scientific studies of animal behavior reveal perceptions, intelligences, awareness and social skills that would have been deemed fantasy a generation ago. The implications make our troubled relationship to animals one of the most pressing moral issues of our time. Jonathan Balcombe, animal behaviorist and author of the critically acclaimed Pleasurable Kingdom, draws on the latest research, observational studies and personal anecdotes to reveal the full gamut of animal experience—from emotions, to problem solving, to moral judgment. Balcombe challenges the widely held idea that nature is red in tooth and claw, highlighting animal traits we have disregarded until now: their nuanced understanding of social dynamics, their consideration for others, and their strong tendency to avoid violent conflict. Did you know that dogs recognize unfairness and that rats practice random acts of kindness? Did you know that chimpanzees can trounce humans in short-term memory games? Or that fishes distinguish good guys from cheaters, and that birds are susceptible to mood swings such as depression and optimism? With vivid stories and entertaining anecdotes, Balcombe gives the human pedestal a strong shake while opening the door into the inner lives of the animals themselves.

Inside Animal Hearts and Minds

Author: Belinda Recio
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing Inc.
ISBN: 9781510718951
Release Date: 2017-08-01
Genre: Nature

As Charles Darwin suggested more than a century ago, the differences between animals and humans are “of degree and not of kind.” Not long ago, ethologists denied that animals had emotions or true intelligence. Now, we know that rats laugh when tickled, magpies mourn as they cover the departed with greenery, female whales travel thousands of miles for annual reunions with their gal pals, seals navigate by the stars, bears hum when happy, and crows slide down snowy rooftops for fun. In engaging text, photographs, and infographics, Inside Animal Hearts and Minds showcases fascinating and heart-warming examples of animal emotion and cognition that will foster wonder and empathy. Learn about an orangutan who does “macramé,” monkeys that understand the concept of money, and rats that choose friendship over food. Even language, math, and logic are no longer exclusive to humans. Prairie dogs have their own complex vocabularies to describe human intruders, parrots name their chicks, sea lions appear capable of deductive thinking akin to a ten-year-old child’s, and bears, lemurs, parrots, and other animals demonstrate numerical cognition. In a world where a growing body of scientific research is closing the gap between the human and non-human, Inside Animal Hearts and Minds invites us to change the way we view animals, the world, and our place in it.

The Dragon Behind the Glass

Author: Emily Voigt
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781451678963
Release Date: 2016-05-24
Genre: Nature

A FINALIST FOR THE 2017 PEN/E. O. WILSON LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING AWARD LONGLISTED FOR THE ANDREW CARNEGIE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE A LIBRARY JOURNAL BEST SCIENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR “[A] curiously edifying book.” —The New York Times Book Review “With the taut suspense of a spy novel, Voigt paints a vivid world of murder, black market deals, and habitat destruction surrounding a fish that's considered, ironically, to be a good-luck charm.” —Discover “[An] immensely satisfying story, full of surprises and suspense....Things get weird fast.” —The Wall Street Journal An intrepid journalist’s quest to find a wild Asian arowana—the world’s most expensive aquarium fish—takes her on a global tour in this “engaging tale of obsession and perseverance…and an enthralling look at the intersection of science, commercialism, and conservationism” (Publishers Weekly, starred review). A young man is murdered for his pet fish. An Asian tycoon buys a single specimen for $150,000. Meanwhile, a pet detective chases smugglers through the streets of New York. With “the taut suspense of a spy novel” (Discover) The Dragon Behind the Glass tells the story of a fish like none other. Treasured as a status symbol believed to bring good luck, the Asian arowana, or “dragon fish,” is a dramatic example of a modern paradox: the mass-produced endangered species. While hundreds of thousands are bred in captivity, the wild fish as become a near-mythical creature. From the South Bronx to Borneo and beyond, journalist Emily Voigt follows the trail of the arowana to learn its fate in nature. “A fresh, lively look at an obsessive desire to own a piece of the wild” (Kirkus Reviews), The Dragon Behind the Glass traces our fascination with aquarium fish back to the era of exploration when naturalists stood on the cutting edge of modern science. In an age when freshwater fish now comprise one of the most rapidly vanishing groups of animals, Voigt unearths a surprising truth behind the arowana’s rise to fame—one that calls into question how we protect the world’s rarest species. “Not since Candace Millard published The River of Doubt has the world of the Amazon, Borneo, Myanmar, and other exotic locations been so colorfully portrayed as it is now in Emily Voigt’s The Dragon Behind the Glass…a must-read” (Library Journal, starred review).

Fish Behavior in the Aquarium and in the Wild

Author: Stéphan Reebs
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 0801487722
Release Date: 2001
Genre: Nature

Examines the often strange behavior of fish, both in captivity and the wild, such as certain breeds' ability to tell time, sing, and deceive other fish.

The Exultant Ark

Author: Jonathan Peter Balcombe
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520948648
Release Date: 2011-05-09
Genre: Nature

Nature documentaries often depict animal life as a grim struggle for survival, but this visually stunning book opens our eyes to a different, more scientifically up-to-date way of looking at the animal kingdom. In more than one hundred thirty striking images, The Exultant Ark celebrates the full range of animal experience with dramatic portraits of animal pleasure ranging from the charismatic and familiar to the obscure and bizarre. These photographs, windows onto the inner lives of pleasure seekers, show two polar bears engaged in a bout of wrestling, hoary marmots taking time for a friendly chase, Japanese macaques enjoying a soak in a hot spring, a young bull elk sticking out his tongue to catch snowflakes, and many other rewarding moments. Biologist and best-selling author Jonathan Balcombe is our guide, interpreting the images within the scientific context of what is known about animal behavior. In the end, old attitudes fall away as we gain a heightened sense of animal individuality and of the pleasures that make life worth living for all sentient beings.

Beyond Words

Author: Carl Safina
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9780805098884
Release Date: 2015-07-14
Genre: Nature

In a world where we usually measure animals by human standards, prize-winning author and MacArthur Fellow Carl Safina takes us inside their lives and minds, witnessing their profound capacity for perception, thought and emotion, showing why the word "it" is often inappropriate as we discover who they really are. Weaving decades of observations of actual families of free-living creatures with new discoveries about brain functioning, Carl Safina's narrative breaches many commonly held boundaries between humans and other animals. InBeyond Words, readers travel the wilds of Africa to visit some of the last great elephant gatherings, then follow wolves of Yellowstone National Park sort out the aftermath of their personal tragedy, then plunge into the astonishingly peaceful society of killer whales living in waters of the Pacific Northwest. We spend quality time, too, with dogs and falcons and ravens; and consider how the human mind originated. In his wise and passionate new book, Safina delivers a graceful examination of how animals truly think and feel, which calls to question what really does—and what should—make us human.

Mousy Cats and Sheepish Coyotes

Author: John Shivik
Publisher: Beacon Press
ISBN: 9780807071519
Release Date: 2017
Genre: Nature

A wildlife expert explores what science tells us about animals as unique individuals and why animal personality matters for the human-animal bond and for adaptation in nature. Why are some cats cuddly and others standoffish? Why are some dogs adventuresome, others homebodies? As any pet owner can attest, we feel that the animals we've formed bonds with are unique, as particular (and peculiar) as any human friend or loved one. Recent years have brought an increased understanding of animal intelligence and emotion. But is there a scientific basis for animal personality and individuality, or is this notion purely sentimental? It turns out that science has been reluctant to even broach the subject of individuality until recently. But now, a fundamental shift in scientific understanding is underway, as mainstream scientists begin to accept the idea that animals of all kinds--from beloved beasts like apes and birds to decidedly less cuddly creatures like crabs and spiders--do indeed have individual personalities. In Mousy Cats and Sheepish Coyotes, veteran wildlife expert Dr. John A. Shivik brings us stories from the front lines of this exciting new discipline. Drawing on his scientific training, as well as his storytelling gifts, Shivik serves as an accessible, humorous guide to the emerging body of research on animal personalities. Shivik accompanies researchers who are discovering that each wolf, bear, and coyote has an inherent tendency to favor either its aggressive nature or to shyly avoid conflicts. Some bluebirds are lovers, others are fighters. And some spiders prefer to be loners, while others are sociable. Unique personalities can be discovered in every corner of the animal kingdom--even among microscopic organisms. The array of personality types among all species is only beginning to be described and understood. As Shivik argues, animals' unique personalities are important not only because they determine which animals we bond with. Individual animal traits are also fundamental but still inadequately understood drivers of evolution, adaptation, and species diversity. Ultimately, Mousy Cats and Sheepish Coyotes offers insight into the similarities humans share with animals and presents evidence of an unbroken biological connection from the smallest organisms to Homo sapiens.

Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are

Author: Frans de Waal
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393246193
Release Date: 2016-04-25
Genre: Science

A New York Times Bestseller From world-renowned biologist and primatologist Frans de Waal, a groundbreaking work on animal intelligence destined to become a classic. What separates your mind from an animal’s? Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future—all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long. People often assume a cognitive ladder, from lower to higher forms, with our own intelligence at the top. But what if it is more like a bush, with cognition taking different forms that are often incomparable to ours? Would you presume yourself dumber than a squirrel because you’re less adept at recalling the locations of hundreds of buried acorns? Or would you judge your perception of your surroundings as more sophisticated than that of a echolocating bat? De Waal reviews the rise and fall of the mechanistic view of animals and opens our minds to the idea that animal minds are far more intricate and complex than we have assumed. De Waal’s landmark work will convince you to rethink everything you thought you knew about animal—and human—intelligence.

Sex in the Sea

Author: Marah J. Hardt
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 9781466879225
Release Date: 2016-02-09
Genre: Science

An Oprah.com "Best Book for National Reading Month" Forget the Kama Sutra. When it comes to inventive sex acts, just look to the sea. There we find the elaborate mating rituals of armored lobsters; giant right whales engaging in a lively threesome whilst holding their breath; full moon sex parties of groupers and daily mating blitzes by blueheaded wrasse. Deep-sea squid perform inverted 69s, while hermaphrodite sea slugs link up in giant sex loops. From doubly endowed sharks to the maze-like vaginas of some whales, Sex in the Sea is a journey unlike any other to explore the staggering ways life begets life beneath the waves. Beyond a deliciously voyeuristic excursion, Sex in the Sea uniquely connects the timeless topic of sex with the timely issue of sustainable oceans. Through overfishing, climate change, and ocean pollution we are disrupting the creative procreation that drives the wild abundance of life in the ocean. With wit and scientific rigor, Hardt introduces us to the researchers and innovators who study the wet and wild sex lives of ocean life and offer solutions that promote rather than prevent, successful sex in the sea. Part science, part erotica, Sex in the Sea discusses how we can shift from a prophylactic to a more propagative force for life in the ocean.

Field Guide to the Fishes of the Amazon Orinoco and Guianas

Author: Peter van der Sleen
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9781400888801
Release Date: 2017-12-11
Genre: Nature

The Amazon and Orinoco basins in northern South America are home to the highest concentration of freshwater fish species on earth, with more than 3,000 species allotted to 564 genera. Amazonian fishes include piranhas, electric eels, freshwater stingrays, a myriad of beautiful small-bodied tetras and catfishes, and the largest scaled freshwater fish in the world, the pirarucu. Field Guide to the Fishes of the Amazon, Orinoco, and Guianas provides descriptions and identification keys for all the known genera of fishes that inhabit Greater Amazonia, a vast and still mostly remote region of tropical rainforests, seasonally flooded savannas, and meandering lowland rivers. The guide’s contributors include more than fifty expert scientists. They summarize the current state of knowledge on the taxonomy, species richness, and ecology of these fish groups, and provide references to relevant literature for species-level identifications. This richly illustrated guide contains 700 detailed drawings, 190 color photos, and 500 distribution maps, which cover all genera. An extensive and illustrated glossary helps readers with the identification keys. The first complete overview of the fish diversity in the Amazon, Orinoco, and Guianas, this comprehensive guide is essential for anyone interested in the freshwater life inhabiting this part of the world. First complete overview of the fish diversity in the Amazon and Orinoco basins Contributors include more than fifty experts Identification keys and distribution maps for all genera 190 stunning color photos 700 detailed line drawings Extensive and illustrated glossary

The Wasp that Brainwashed the Caterpillar

Author: Matt Simon
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9780143128687
Release Date: 2016
Genre: Nature

"On a barren seafloor, the pearlfish swims into the safety of a sea cucumber s anus. To find a meal, the female bolas spider releases pheromones that mimic a female moth, luring male moths into her sticky lasso web. The Glyptapanteles wasp injects a caterpillar with her young, which feed on the victim, erupt out of it, then mind-control the poor (and somehow still living) schmuck into protecting them from predators. These are among the curious critters of The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar, a jaunt through evolution s most unbelievable, most ingenious solutions to the problems of everyday life, from trying to get laid to finding food."--Publisher marketing.