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Butterflies: Messages from Psyche

 
 
Author
Philip Howse.
Publisher Papadakis  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 11.75 x 9.5 x 0.6 inches
ISBN 9781901092806
Pages/Publication Date 192/2010
Daedalus Item Code 72436
Sale Price: $14.98 $9.98
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Description
To the human observer, butterflies are nothing but beautiful, delighting us with a seemingly endless variety of colors and patterns; to birds, lizards, monkeys, and other insectivores, however, butterflies are startling, deceptive, elusive creatures, upsetting if not in some cases outright toxic. Philip Howse, former secretary-general of the International Union for the Study of Social Insects, here gives us a gorgeously photographed, superbly reasoned exploration of the evolutionary responses of butterflies and moths to their predator-filled environments. Far from random or intentionally attractive displays, argues Howse, their complex coloration, flight behaviors, and physical forms are meant to play on the detail-oriented perceptions of predators, tricking them into thinking they're seeing something to be avoided. Howse also considers how the signs that butterflies display—imitations of faces or eyes, attacking snakes or birds, stinging insects or poisonous ones—are recognizable as archetypal symbols of danger and threat for us as well, and have been incorporated into myths from the Mother Goddess of various cultures to Psyche's loss of innocence with Cupid.
 
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