Hidden Planet

Publisher: Ladybird Books

Did you know that the mantis shrimp has one of the fastest punches in nature, able to smash even the thickest of shells by striking them hard with a pair of hinged arms hidden away under its head? Or that the African penguin – living on a series of islands between Namibia and South Africa and in two colonies near Cape Town – uses its black back and white belly for camouflage in the water?

A self-confessed wildlife obsessive, Rothery’s book isn’t just a collection of his gorgeous illustration (which is reason enough to buy it) but rather a study of the hidden connections between species, their relationships and the unexpected abilities and behaviours of many of the creatures we think we know.

The book explains natural relationships such as parasitism (the parasite benefits at the expense of the other), mutualism (both species benefit from the relationship, like bees and flowers) and commensalism (one organism benefits while the other is neither harmed or helped), as well as the families of species and their connections. Rothery writes clearly and often with personal anecdotes about a vast variety of animals, including those that are completely unlike any other.

Fascinating and beautiful.

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