What We Are Reading Today: Parasitoids by H. Charles J. Godfray

Short Url
Updated 08 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Parasitoids by H. Charles J. Godfray

Parasitoids lay their eggs on or in the bodies of other species of insect, and the parasitoid larvae develop by feeding on the host, causing its eventual death. Known for a long time to applied biologists for their importance in regulating the population densities of economic pests, parasitoids have recently proven to be valuable tools in testing many aspects of evolutionary theory. 

This book synthesizes the work of both schools of parasitoid biology and asks how a consideration of evolutionary biology can help us understand the behavior, ecology, and diversity of the approximately 1 to 2 million species of parasitoid found on earth, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

After a general introduction to parasitoid natural history and taxonomy, the first part of the book treats the different components of the reproductive strategy of parasitoids: Searching for a host, host selection, clutch size, and the sex ratio. Subsequent chapters discuss pathogens and non-Mendelian genetic elements that affect sexual reproduction. 

A special effort is made to discuss the theoretical background to the subject, but without the use of mathematics.


What We Are Reading Today: Divided Armies

Updated 23 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Divided Armies

Author: Jason Lyall

How do armies fight and what makes them victorious on the modern battlefield? In Divided Armies, Jason Lyall challenges long-standing answers to this classic question by linking the fate of armies to their levels of inequality.
Introducing the concept of military inequality, Lyall demonstrates how a state’s prewar choices about the citizenship status of ethnic groups within its population determine subsequent battlefield performance.
Treating certain ethnic groups as second-class citizens, either by subjecting them to state-sanctioned discrimination or, worse, violence, undermines interethnic trust, fuels grievances, and leads victimized soldiers to subvert military authorities once war begins.
The higher an army’s inequality, Lyall finds, the greater its rates of desertion, side-switching, casualties, and use of coercion to force soldiers to fight, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.
In a sweeping historical investigation, Lyall draws on Project Mars, a new dataset of 250 conventional wars fought since 1800, to test this argument.