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New book tells strange tales of evolution

Collection features creatures with seemingly bizarre lifestyles

8:00am, October 2, 2016

STRANGER THINGS  A “brainwashed” caterpillar (one shown), whose every instinct is controlled by wasp larvae, is one of many curious species featured in a new book.

The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar
Matt Simon
Penguin Books, $20

Writer Matt Simon begins his new book with a bleak outlook on life: “In the animal kingdom, life sucks and then you die.” But thanks to evolution — which Simon calls “the most majestic problem-solving force on planet Earth” — some critters have peculiar adaptations that make life suck a little less (though sometimes at the expense of other species).

From mustachioed toads to pink fairy armadillos, Simon’s debut book, The Wasp That Brainwashed the Caterpillar, recounts an eclectic cadre of animals that use creative and often bizarre solutions to find love, a babysitter, a meal or a place to crash.

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