Melanism: Evolution in Action

Paperback | December 1, 1997

byMichael E. N. Majerus

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Melanism: Evolution in Action describes investigations into a ubiquitous biological phenomenon, the existence of dark, or melanic, forms of many species of mammals, insects, and some plants. Melanism is a particularly exciting phenomenon in terms of our understanding of evolution. Unlike manyother polymorphisms, the rise of a melanic population within a species is a visible alteration. Not only this, but melanism may sometimes occur dramatically quickly compared to other evolutionary change. Examples of melanism include one of the most famous illustrations of Darwinian naturalselection, the peppered moth. This book, the first written on melanism since 1973, gives a lucid and up-to-date appraisal of the subject. The book is divided into ten chapters. The first four chapters place melanism into its historical and scientific context, with illustrations of its occurrence,and physical and genetic properties. Chapters 5-9 look in more detail at melanism in moths and ladybirds, explaining the diversity of evolutionary reasons for melanism, and the complexities underlying this apparently simple phenomenon. The final chapter shows how the study of melanism has contibutedto our understanding of biological evolution as a whole. Written in an engaging and readable style, by an author whose enthusiasm and depth of knowledge is apparent throughout, this book will be welcomed by all students and researchers in the fields of evolution, ecology, entomology, and genetics.It will also be of relevance to professional and amateur entomologists and lepidopterists alike.

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Melanism: Evolution in Action describes investigations into a ubiquitous biological phenomenon, the existence of dark, or melanic, forms of many species of mammals, insects, and some plants. Melanism is a particularly exciting phenomenon in terms of our understanding of evolution. Unlike manyother polymorphisms, the rise of a melanic p...

Michael Majerus began collecting butterflies and moths when he was four. His fascination with this group, and in particular their value in studying evolution, has spanned almost forty years, and dominated his professional career. He has written over 100 scientific papers and three books on these subjects, and regularly appears on tele...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.79 inPublished:December 1, 1997Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198549822

ISBN - 13:9780198549826

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgements1. What is melanism?2. The diversity of melanics3. The principles of genetics4. Evolutionary processes5. The peppered moth story6. The peppered moth story dissected7. Melanism in the Lepidoptera8. Melanism in conspicuous Lepidoptera9. Melanism in ladybirds10. The future of research into melanismGlossaryReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

'...This work will be of considerable interest not only to geneticists and evolutionary biologists, but also to entomologists, ecologists and natural historians who wish to extend their understanding of Darwin's evolutionary theory, more particularly of natural selection.' MRDS, 1999