Cover An Introduction to Behavioural Ecology, FOURTH EDITION

Published in 2012 by Wiley-Blackwell. Buy the book from Amazon in the UK, USA or Germany, or direct from Wiley-Blackwell. Available as Hardback, Paperback, Kindle or eBook. Read Chapter 1.

Reviews: Nature,  Animal BehaviourTREE,  J. Evolutionary Psychology,
British Ecological SocietyAmateur Naturalist Magazine

Guardian 10 Best Nature Books (March 2015).

Nicholas Davies, John Krebs & Stuart West

            This textbook helped to define the field of Behavioural Ecology.  In this fourth edition the text has been completely revised, with new chapters and many new illustrations and colour photographs.  The theme, once again, is the influence of natural selection on behaviour – an animal’s struggle to survive and reproduce by exploiting and competing for resources, avoiding predators, selecting mates and caring for offspring, – and how animal societies reflect both cooperation and conflict among individuals.


            Written in the same engaging and lucid style as the previous editions, the authors explain the latest theoretical ideas using examples from micro-organisms, invertebrates and vertebrates.  There are boxed sections for some topics and marginal notes help guide the reader.  The book will be essential reading for students of behavioural ecology and animal behaviour.


Nicholas B. Davies FRS is Professor of Behavioural Ecology in the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of Pembroke College.

John R. Krebs FRS is Principal of Jesus College and Professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of  Oxford, and a member of the House of Lords.

Stuart A. West is Professor of Evolutionary Biology in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford.



1.            Natural selection, ecology and behaviour.

2.            Testing hypotheses in behavioural ecology.

3.            Economic decisions.

4.            Predators versus prey : evolutionary arms races.

5.            Competing for resources.

6.            Living in groups.

7.            Sexual selection, sperm competition and sexual conflict.

8.            Parental care and family conflicts.

9.            Mating systems.

10.          Sex allocation.

11.          Social behaviours : altruism to spite.

12.          Cooperation.

13.          Altruism and conflict in the social insects.

14.          Communication and signals.

15.          Conclusion.

Teaching Aids: The figures and photographs from the book are available to download, for use in powerpoint presentations.

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