Did you know that honeybees have undertakers, or that slime moulds commit suicide for the benefit of the community, or that Tasmanian hens have two husbands? The living world is full of fantastic creatures that display a wide spectrum of behaviours that range from the ordinary to the extravagant to the obnoxious. But no matter how bizarre some of the morphologies and behaviours may seem to us, most have a purpose, or at least a reason, that can be explained by their evolutionary histories. While most animals are solitary, many are also social, and we as social animals ourselves, are intrigued by the social behaviour in other animals. We pride ourselves in our social organization, and we would like to believe that we have the best evolved and most complex society in the living world. However, there are many levels of social organization visible in the animal world and some societies like those of ants, bees and wasps can even be argued to be better organized than ours. Social organization is based on cooperation between individuals, and no society is free of conflict. In his book, Raghavendra Gadagkar tells us tales of intrigue and passion, altruism and selfishness, honesty and cheating in the animal world.
This book is targeted for high school and college students, and has initiated many to the fascinating field of animal behaviour. The book is beautiful because it is written with the uninitiated reader in mind, but does not for once deviate from scientific thought, and does not compromise on the scientific value of the text. This book is a pleasure to read for anyone, irrespective of age, training or occupation, and is perfect to carry with you on a bus or train, because the chapters are short, and sub divided into shorter sections, that makes it easy to read in parts. This is also a good reference book for students of animal behaviour, because it covers a large spectrum of topics, and gives very detailed references to scientific papers and text books. This book has been translated into Chinese and Korean, and has two editions from the Harvard University Press, and an Indian edition. I recommend Survival Strategies to all lovers of nature, animals and books.