Metamorphosis is the transformation of caterpillars into butterflies and tadpoles into frogs. Frank Ryan introduces myriad lesser-known examples of mainly marine creatures that show stunning transformations as part of their lifecycles.
In an equally entertaining and informing fashion, Ryan guides his readers through the lives and works of some of the key figures who explored the mystery of metamorphosis, its mechanisms and its evolution. He interweaves prose with scientific facts and paints a vivid picture of his characters as he describes their theories and experiments as well as their personal struggles and achievements.
The book doesn’t shy away from the fact that metamorphosis is far from being fully understood by science. Even so, the informed reader will be left wondering about the inadequate genetic testing of one of the central themes in the book: Don Williamson’s controversial theory of larval transfer, which proposes that metamorphosis arose through hybridisation of distinctly different species.
Aimed at an interested general readership, Metamorphosis provides an engaging cross-disciplinary account of a truly astonishing biological phenomenon.