20 August 2015

The chapter of surprise

I’ve been very fortunate to have a lot of projects that I had worked on a long time ago come to fruition in a rapid succession the last few weeks, and the latest one is another book chapter: about decapod “evo-devo.”

The story of this chapter started when lead author Steffen Harzsch emailed completely out of the blue to ask if I could write a sidebar on a chapter he was writing. Steffen had helped me out in a big way some years ago when he helped me get my research colony of Marmorkrebs up and running.

I’ve done a few book chapters now, and the process is so long and so protracted and the payoff is so minimal that I swore off writing any more of those things.

But when someone thinks I can contribute and asks me directly to chip in, I want to help. Besides, I thought a sidebar wouldn’t be so bad. That’s practically a parenthetical aside. I wouldn’t really have to compile the hard, serious data for the chapter. Easy.

I had another leg up in the process. As with another book chapter, I benefited from many years of blogging about Marmorkrebs. Indeed, the Freshwater Crayfish chapter and this one were written close enough together that I tried to be conscious of what I had written in both so as not to repeat myself too much. I’m sure if anyone read through both closely, they would be able to see some similarities and figure out where my contributions to the Harzsch chapter are.

As it happened, the editor of the book didn’t want a sidebar. So a cocoon I thought might yield a butterfly turned into a bird instead. What I wrote got incorporated throughout the chapter, and Steffen was generous enough to list me as a co-author.

I should add that this chapter is part of a big six-volume series on invertebrate evo-devo that is quite comprehensive. If you are into invertebrate development, you are sure to find some chapters of interest to you, even if it isn’t the one I helped with!


Harzsch S, Krieger J, Faulkes Z. 2015. “Crustacea”: Decapoda – Astacida. In: A Wanninger (ed.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology of Invertebrates 4: Ecdysozoa II: Crustacea, pp. 101-151. Springer: New York. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-7091-1853-5_4

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