Suggest an Animal

Q: Can I select the animal for the cover of my book?
A: You can make a suggestion but our design group makes the final decision on all artwork for our covers

Do you have an idea for what animal might be awesome for Building Web 2.0 Reputation Systems? We've opened this page for anyone to edit so you can leave your suggestion either in the comments or edit this page and add your own suggestion. Please supply a species name, a rationale for your choice and, if you edit the page, include either an image or a pointer to one for everyone to share. We don't promise anything, but this should be fun! On the off chance that your animal is selected by the editors at O'Reilly, we'll make sure you get a credit. :-)

Be sure to check out the The Animal Menagerie for duplicates and/or inspiration.

Please follow the pattern below so people can easily use the automated table of contents to jump from animal to animal. Oh yeah, standard wiki etiquette is required: Only make improvements and respect other peoples attempts to do the same. we'd like to keep this page completely open as long as possible.

Suggestions (alphabetical)

Black Dwarf Honeybee (Apis andreniformis)


Suggested by: Randy Farmer


It has long been known that successfully foraging Western honey bees perform a dance on their return to the hive, known as waggle dance, indicating that food is further away, while the round dance is a short version of the waggle dance, indicating that food is nearby. The laden forager dances on the comb in a circular pattern, occasionally crossing the circle in a zig-zag or waggle pattern. …

In 1947, Karl von Frisch correlated the runs and turns of the dance to the distance and direction of the food source from the hive. The orientation of the dance correlates to the relative position of the sun to the food source, and the length of the waggle portion of the run is correlated to the distance from the hive. Also, the more vigorous the display is, the better the food. There is no evidence that this form of communication depends on individual learning.

… Apis andreniformis (the “dwarf honeybees”) the dance is performed on the dorsal, horizontal portion of the nest, which is exposed. The runs and dances point directly toward the resource in these species. Each honey bee species has a characteristically different correlation of “waggling” to distance, as well. Such species-specific behavior suggests that this form of communication does not depend on learning but is rather determined genetically. It also suggests how the dance may have evolved.

Bonobo (Pan Paniscus)


Suggested By: Jennifer Bohmbach


I would like to suggest the Bonobo. It is the closest relative to humans. It is a very social animal.

The common Chimpanzee has been used on an O'Reilly book before but The Bonobo Chimpanzee has not-don't know if that counts, but I promote it anyway. :)

The Bonobo is also an endangered species, so it could use the attention. :)

Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus)


Suggested by: Gail Williams


…ancestor of the very social, intelligent, verbal and rank-obsessed domestic chicken. Lovely roosters (and hens, but the image should be the glorious rooster) symbolize pecking order, in its pristine form.

(But is there an O'Reilly Chicken yet?)

Magpie or Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)


Suggested By: Randy Farmer


The behavior of collecting shiny things and hording them is very much like the favorite reputation pattern - people favorite the things they like and those are surfaced to others as shiny objects.

Like magpies, jackdaws are known to steal shiny objects such as jewelry to hoard in nests. John Gay in his Beggar's Opera notes that “A covetous fellow, like a jackdaw, steals what he was never made to enjoy, for the sake of hiding it” and in Tobias Smollett's The Expedition of Humphry Clinker a scathing character assassination by Mr. Bramble runs “He is ungracious as a hog, greedy as a vulture, and thievish as a jackdaw.”

Stomatopod/Mantis Shrimp (Gonodactylus festae)

Suggested By: Bryce Glass


Reputation is another potential source of information about an opponent's fighting ability. Reputation is defined here as the estimation held by one individual of another individual's qualities or characteristics. Reputation is thus a property of one animal in relation to another. One animal's reputation may be learned by another through personal experience with it, or secondhand, through the experiences of others.


In one group of crustaceans, however, animals do appear capable of learning to recognize individuals in an aggressive context. Stomatopods (mantis shrimp) of the genus Gonodactylus can distinguish between the odors of previously encountered individuals. When intruders first approach a cavity, they usually extend their antennules near the entrance and sample the water by vertically flicking the flagellar tips.

When a G. festae is defeated by a size- or sex-matched opponent occupying a cavity, it subsequently avoids cavities containing the odor of that individual, but still enters cavities containing the odors of stomatopods that it has not previously encountered.

Walrus (Odobenus rosmarus)


Suggested By: Bridget AG


  1. Walruses are among the most gregarious of animals. They exhibit social behavior all year and congregate by the hundreds. Walruses haul out in herds; they seldom haul out alone. Individuals frequently compete for the most favorable haul-out site.
  2. Males and females form separate herds.
  3. Social dominance is well established in herds and subgroups. Dominance within herds is established by tusk size, body size, and aggressiveness. The largest walruses with the longest tusks are the most aggressive and threatening. Animals that are smaller or those with small or broken tusks have a lower social ranking.
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