Sexy Orchids Make Lousy Lovers
& Other Unusual Relationships
Vampire bats that regurgitate blood for roosting buddies. Mosquitoes that filch honeydew droplets from ants. Reptiles that enforce chastity on their lovers with copulatory plugs. Capuchin monkeys that use millipede secretions as mosquito repellent. The natural world is full of unusual relationships, and negotiation between life-forms striving to survive is evolution at its most diverse, entertaining, and awe-inspiring.
Picking up where her highly popular Headless Males Make Great Lovers left off, tropical field biologist Marty Crump takes us on another voyage of discovery into the world of unusual natural histories, this time focusing on extraordinary interactions involving animals, plants, fungi, and bacteria. Sexy Orchids Make Lousy Lovers& Other Unusual Relationships illuminates the ceaseless give-and-take between species. Occasionally, both interacting parties benefit, like when hornbills and dwarf mongooses hunt together for food. Other times, like when mites ride in hummingbirds’ nostrils to reach their next meal of nectar, one individual benefits and the other is neither helped nor harmed. But sometimes one individual benefits at the expense of the other; you need only recall your last sinus infection to understand how that works.
Throughout, Crump brings her trademark spunk and zest to these stories of intimate exchange. She introduces readers to penguins that babysit, pseudoscorpions that ride and mate under the wings of giant harlequin beetles, and parasitic fungi that bend insects to their will. A lively companion to Crump’s earlier work, Sexy Orchids Make Lousy Lovers& Other Unusual Relationships captures the bizarre and befuddling aspects of the behavior of animals, plants, and microbes. After this entertaining romp through the world of natural relationships, you’ll never look at an orchid the same way again.
1 · Whatever Happened to Baby Booby?
& Other Interactions among Animals of the Same Kind
Not Tonight, Honey
To Have and to Hold
You Scratch My Back, I’ll Scratch Yours
Bubble Blowers, Pothole Plugs, and Other Group Hunting Roles
The Babysitters’ Club
Sound the Alarm!
An Intimate Act
Whatever Happened to Baby Booby?
2 · Taken to the Cleaners,
& Other Interactions between Animal Species
Taken to the Cleaners
She’s Got a Ticket to Ride
Houseguests, Unlike Dead Fish, Don’t Always Smell in Three Days
Be It Ever So Humble
Raising the Devil’s Spawn
Cow Pie No. 5
Audacious Pirates and Sneaky Burglars
3 · Green, Green Plants of Home,
& Other Interactions between Animals and Plants
Sexy Orchids Make Lousy Lovers, and Other Orchid Contrivances
A Seedy Neighborhood
The Green, Green Plants of Home
Powerful Plant Products
There’s the Rub
Ants and Plants
4 · Invasion of the Body Snatchers,
& Other Interactions with Fungi and Bacteria
Intestinal Microbes and the Gas We Pass
Deadly Dragon Drool
Mighty Mushrooms and Other Good Fungus among Us
Bombarded by Bacteria
A Cloak of Antibiotics
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Body Snatchers Revisited
Conserve Interactions, Not Just Species
References Consulted and Suggested ReadingIndex
"Charmingly written—and charmingly illustrated by the author’s brother Alan—the book is a believe-it-or-not treasury of glue-spitting soldier ants, divorced birds, monkeys that dose themselves with herbal cures, and underwater day spas where big fish suspend their practice of eating little fish in exchange for getting their scales groomed and their teeth cleaned. Less easily anthropomorphized species, fungi and bacteria, come in for their own share of behavioral observation. Crump’s entertaining anecdotes build to a heartfelt moral: The world is a wondrous place, and it is our obligation to keep it that way."
“This work offers a delicious smorgasbord of fascinating species interactions. Readers are treated to descriptions of and explanations for a variety of exotic behaviors and remarkable relationships between organisms. . . . It should inspire everyone to become a naturalist.”