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Monarchs and Milkweed:
A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution
Anurag Agrawal

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"Science strongly indicates all living things evolved from a common ancestor to form the complex biosphere we inhabit on earth. Agrawal deftly plucks one strand from this web of life, the monarch butterfly, and elucidates reverberations that resonate from the dawn of time to the present and back and forth among life forms along the way. . . . Monarch life history on a toxic host laden with cardenolides and largely dependent on migrating vast distances to tiny overwintering sites and back again is the backbone of the book. . . . Color illustrations are abundantly informative, the main text font is eminently legible with a useful index, and the well bound paper stock bodes well for the physical longevity of the book."--Science Books & Film

"Well-illustrated and informative."--The Cardinal


"Monarch butterflies are a familiar sight, but they have a hidden life of astonishing, beautiful complexity. In Monarchs and Milkweed, Anurag Agrawal offers an unprecedented tour of the lives of these insects, based on cutting-edge research into their evolution."--Carl Zimmer, coauthor of Evolution: Making Sense of Life

"This is a gorgeously written and wonderfully illustrated synthesis of our rich knowledge of the evolutionary battle between the monarch butterfly and the common milkweed. It is also a fascinating account of the cast of biologists--including such pioneers as Lincoln Brower, Miriam Rothschild, and Fred and Nora Urquhart—who have probed the deep mysteries posed by this amazingly mobile insect and its famously poisonous host."—Thomas D. Seeley, author of Honeybee Democracy

"With a narrative both interesting and well-told, Monarchs and Milkweed will appeal to a wide audience. From biochemical to evolutionary perspectives, this book brings the arms race of milkweeds and monarchs to new light, and shows how and why biology is fun. I recommend it highly."--Bernd Heinrich, author of One Wild Bird at a Time

"When I studied monarchs in the 1950s, I never imagined they would become one of the most important experimental animals in biology. Jane Van Zandt Brower's pathbreaking work on their role in mimicry started to change my view, and helped Peter Raven and me to develop the field of coevolution. Now Anurag Agrawal, a world-class scientist, tells the monarch-milkweed coevolution story in a brilliant, readable book--one that underlines the vast improvement of our understanding of the living world during the last half-century."--Paul R. Ehrlich, coauthor of The Annihilation of Nature

"It's impossible to imagine the world without monarch butterflies. But they face mounting challenges. This clear, fact-packed book looks at this astonishing and amazing insect and will make you want to cheer, ‘Long live the monarch!'"--Carl Safina, author of Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel

"This marvelous book looks at how plants and plant-feeding insects have coevolved and how scientists over the past century have painstakingly identified the processes that shape webs of interacting species. Beautifully describing ecological and evolutionary processes, this wonderfully enjoyable book is to be savored for the remarkable ways in which science unravels how life on earth has become so diverse."--John N. Thompson, University of California, Santa Cruz

"Engagingly written, Monarchs and Milkweed is the best book on monarch biology that I have ever read."--Stephen B. Malcolm, Western Michigan University

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File created: 9/19/2017

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