In this brilliant, often disturbing account, Christopher McGowan explores the complex survival techniques of a broad range of organisms; from toxic plants and plankton to wasps and killer whales; from reptiles and raptors to scorpions and dinosaurs; and he shows how their fundamentally different physiology leads them to adopt entirely different offensive and defensive strategies. A lioness has powerful jaws which she uses to throttle her large prey. The jet propulsion system of a squid enables it to make a quick getaway when faced with a predator. The pistol shrimp produces sharp cracking sounds underwater that can stun small fish. The bolas spider lures male moths to their death by producing a scent that mimics the sex pheromone of the female moth, while the monarch butterfly takes up toxins from plants to make itself unpalatable. Lucidly written and full of illuminating detail, this remarkable account reveals the extraordinary forces at work in nature and the importance of interdependence among species.