BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 8

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 8

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 8
BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 8

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 8


Copy your neighbor

A. THERE’S no animal that symbolises rain forest diversity quite as spectacularly as the tropical butterfly. Anyone lucky enough to see these creatures flitting between patches of sunlight cannot fail to be impressed by the variety of their patterns. But why do they display such colourful exuberance? Until recently, this was almost as pertinent a question as it had been when the 19th-century naturalists, armed only with butterfly nets and insatiable curiosity, battled through the rainforests.

These early explorers soon realised that although some of the butterflies’ bright colours are there to attract a mate, others are warning signals. They send out a message to any predators: “Keep off, we’ re predicting poisonous.” And because wearing certain patterns affords protection, other species copy them. Biologists use the term mimicry rings for these clusters of impostors and their evolutionary idol.

B. But here’s the conundrum. “Classical mimicry theory says that only a single ring should be found in any one area,” explains George Beccaloni of the Natural History Museum, London. The idea is that in each locality there should be just the one pattern that best protects its wearers. Predators would quickly learn to avoid it and eventually all mimetic species in a region should converge upon it. “The fact that this is patently not the case has been one of the major problems in mimicry research,” says Beccaloni. In pursuit of a solution to the mystery of mimetic exuberance, Beccaloni set off for one of the mega centres for butterfly diversity, the point where the western edge of the Amazon basin meets the foothills of the Andes in Ecuador. “It’s exceptionally rich, but comparatively well collected, so I pretty much knew what was there, says Beccaloni.” The trick was to work out how all the butterflies were organised and how this related to mimicry.”

C. Working at the Jatun Sacha Biological Research Station on the banks of the Rio Napo, Beccaloni focused his attention on a group of butterflies called ithomiines. These distant relatives of Britain’s Camberwell Beauty are abundant throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean. They are famous for their bright colours, toxic bodies and complex mimetic relationships. “They can comprise up to 85 per cent of the individuals in a mimicry ring and their patterns are mimicked not just by butterflies, but by other insects as diverse as damselflies and true bugs,” says Philip DeVries of the Milwaukee Public Museum’s Center for Biodiversity Studies.

D. Even though all ithomiines are poisonous, it is in their interests to evolve to look like one another because predators that learn to avoid one species will also avoid others that resemble it. This is known as Mullerian mimicry. Mimicry rings may also contain insects that are not toxic, but gain protection by looking likes a model species that is: an adaptation called Batesian mimicry. So strong is an experienced predator’s avoidance response that even quite inept resemblance gives some protection.

“Often there will be a whole series of species that mimic, with varying degrees of verisimilitude, a focal or model species,” says John Turner from the University of Leeds. “The results of these deceptions are some of the most exquisite examples of evolution known to science.” In addition to colour, many mimics copy behaviours and even the flight pattern of their model species.

E. But why are there so many different mimicry rings? One idea is that species flying at the same height in the forest canopy evolve to look like one another. “It had been suggested since the 1970s that mimicry complexes were stratified by flight height,” says DeVries. The idea is that wing colour patterns are camouflaged against the different patterns of light and shadow at each level in the canopy, providing a first line of defence, against predators” But the light patterns and wing patterns don’t match very well” he says. And observations show that the insects do not shift in height as the day progresses and the light patterns change. Worse still, according to DeVries, this theory doesn’t explain why the model species is flying at that particular height in the first place

F. “When I first went out to Ecuador, I didn’t believe the flight height hypothesis and set out to test it” says Beccaloni” A few weeks with the collecting net convinced me otherwise. They really flew that way.” What he didn’t accept, however, was the explanation about light patterns. “I thought, if this idea really is true, and I can work out why, it could help explain why there are so many different warning patterns in any one place. Then we might finally understand how they could evolve in such a complex way” The job was complicated by the sheer diversity of species involved at Jatun Sacha.

Not only were there 56 ithomiine butterfly species divided among eight mimicry rings, there were also 69 other insect species, including 34 day-flying moths and a damselfly, all in a 200-hectare study area. Like many entomologists before him, Beccaloni used a large bag-like net to capture his prey. This allowed him to sample the 2.5 metres immediately above the forest floor. Unlike many previous workers, he kept very precise notes on exactly where he caught his specimens

G. The attention to detail paid off. Beccaloni found that the mimicry rings were flying at two quite separate altitudes. “Their use of the forest was quite distinctive,” he recalls. “For example, most members of the clear-winged mimicry ring would fly close to the forest floor, while the majority of the 12 species in the tiger-winged ring fly high up.” Each mimicry ring had its own characteristic flight height.

H. However, this being practice rather than theory, things were a bit fuzzy. “They’d spend the majority of their time flying at a certain height. But they’d also spend a smaller proportion of their time flying at other heights,” Beccaloni admits. Species weren’t stacked rigidly like passenger jets waiting to land, but they did appear to have a preferred airspace in the forest. So far, so good, but he still hadn’t explained what causes the various groups of ithomiines and their chromatic consorts to fly in formations at these particular heights.

I. Then Beccaloni had a bright idea. “I started looking at the distribution of ithomiine larval food plants within the canopy,” he says. “For each one l’d record the height to which the host plant grew and the height above the ground at which the eggs or larvae were found. Once I got them back to the field station’s lab, it was just a matter of keeping them alive until they pupated and then hatched into adults which I could identify.”

Questions 1-5

The reading Passage has seven paragraphs A-I.

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter A-I, in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

NB. You may use any letter more than once

1. Criticism against flight height theory of butterfly

2. Explained why Beccaloni carried out research in Ecuador.

3. Different mimicry ring flies at different height

4. The method of catching butterfly by Beccaloni

5. Not all Mimicry patterns are toxic information sent out from insects.

Questions 6-11

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage 1 In boxes 6-11 on your answer sheet write:

TRUE – if the statement is true

FALSE – if the statement is false

NOT GIVEN – if the information is not given in the passage

6. Al butterflies’ colour of wing reflects the sense of warning to other predator.

7. Insects may imitate butterflies’ wing pattern as well

8. Flying Altitude of butterfly is determined by their food.

9. Beccaloni agreed with flight height hypothesis and decide to reassure its validity.

10. Jatun Sacha has the riches diversity of breeds in the world.

11. Beecaloni has more detailed records on the location of butterfly collection than others.

Questions 12-13

Choose the correct letter, A, B C or D

Write your answers in boxes 12-13 on your answer sheet.

12. Which is correct about butterflies’ flight altitude?

A. Flight height theory already established

B. Butterfly always flies at a certain height

C. It is like the airplane’s flying phenomenon

D. Each butterfly has its own favorable height

13. Which is correct about Beccaloni next investigation after flight height?

A. Some certain statistics have already been collected

B. Try to find connections between larval height and adult ones

C. It’s very difficult to raise butterfly larval

D. Different larval favors different kinds of trees


Saving the British Bitterns

A. Breeding bitterns became extinct in the UK by 1886 but, following re-colonisation early last century, numbers rose to a peak of about 70 booming (singing) males in the 1950s, falling to fewer than 20 by the 1990s. In the late 1980s it was clear that the bittern was in trouble, but there was little information on which to base recovery actions.

B. Bitterns have cryptic plumage and a shy nature, usually remaining hidden within the cover of reedbed vegetation. Our first challenge was to develop standard methods to monitor their numbers. The boom of the male bittern is its most distinctive feature during the breeding season, and we developed a method to count them using the sound patterns unique to each individual. This not only allows us to be much more certain of the number of booming males in the UK, but also enables us to estimate local survival of males from one year to the next

C. Our first direct understanding of the habitat needs of breeding bitterns came from comparisons of reedbed sites that had lost their booming birds with those that retained them. This research showed that bitterns had been retained in reedbeds where the natural process of succession, or drying out, had been slowed through management. Based on this work, broad recommendations on how to manage and rehabilitate reedbeds for bitterns were made, and funding was provided through the EU LIFE Fund to manage 13 sites within the core breeding range. This project, though led by the RSPB, involved many other organisations.

D. To refine these recommendations and provide fine-scale, quantitative habitat prescriptions on the bitterns7 preferred feeding habitat, we radio-tracked male bitterns on the RSPB’s Minsmere and Leighton Moss reserves. This showed clear preferences for feeding in the wetter reedbed margins, particularly within the reedbed next to larger open pools. The average home range sizes of the male bitterns we followed (about 20 hectares) provided a good indication of the area of reedbed needed when managing or creating habitat for this species.

Female bitterns undertake all the incubation and care of the young, so it was important to understand their needs as well. Over the course of our research, we located 87 bittern nests and found that female bitterns preferred to nest in areas of continuous vegetation, well into the reedbed, but where water was still present during the driest part of the breeding season.

E. The success of the habitat prescriptions developed from this research has been spectacular. For instance, at Minsmere, booming bittern numbers gradually increased from one to 10 following reedbed lowering, a management technique designed to halt the drying out process. After a low point of 11 booming males in 1997, bittern numbers in Britain responded to all the habitat management work and started to increase for the first time since the 1950s.

F. The final phase of research involved understanding the diet, survival and dispersal of bittern chicks. To do this we fitted small radio tags to young bittern chicks in the nest, to determine their fate through to fledging and beyond. Many chicks did not survive to fledging and starvation was found to be the most likely reason for their demise. The fish prey fed to chicks was dominated by those species penetrating into the reed edge. So, an important element of recent studies (including a PhD with the University of Hull) has been the development of recommendations on habitat and water conditions to promote healthy native fish populations

G. Once independent, radio-tagged young bitterns were found to seek out new sites during their first winter; a proportion of these would remain on new sites to breed if the conditions were suitable. A second EU LIFE funded project aims to provide these suitable sites in new areas. A network of 19 sites developed through this partnership project will secure a more sustainable UK bittern population with successful breeding outside of the core area, less vulnerable to chance events and sea level rise.

H. By 2004, the number of booming male bitterns in the UK had increased to 55, with almost all of the increase being on those sites undertaking management based on advice derived from our research. Although science has been at the core of the bittern story, success has only been achieved through the trust, hard work and dedication of all the managers, owners and wardens of sites that have implemented, in some cases very drastic, management to secure the future of this wetland species in the UK.

The constructed bunds and five major sluices now control the water level over 82 ha, with a further 50 ha coming under control in the winter of 2005/06. Reed establishment has principally used natural regeneration or planted seedlings to provide small core areas that will in time expand to create a bigger reed area. To date nearly 275,000 seedlings have been planted and reed cover is extensive. Over 3 km of new ditches have been formed, 3.7 km of existing ditch have been re-profiled and 2.2 km of old meander (former estuarine features) has been cleaned out.

I. Bitterns now regularly winter on the site some indication that they are staying longer into the spring. No breeding has yet occurred but a booming male was present in the spring of 2004. A range of wildfowl breed, as well as a good number of reedbed passerines including reed bunting, reed, sedge and grasshopper warblers. Numbers of wintering shoveler have increased so that the site now holds a UK important wintering population. Malltraeth Reserve now forms part of the UK network of key sites for water vole (a UK priority species) and 12 monitoring transects has been established. Otter and brown-hare occur on the site as does the rare plant. Pill wort.

Questions 14-20

The reading passage has seven paragraphs, A-I

Choose the correct heading for paragraphs A-I from the list below. Write the correct number, i-viii, in boxes 14-20 on your answer sheet.

List of Headings

i. research findings into habitats and decisions mad

ii. fluctuation in bittern number

iii. protect the young bittern

iv. international cooperation works

v. Began in calculation of the number

vi. importance of food

vii. Research has been successful.

viii. research into the reedbed

ix. reserve established holding bittern in winter

14. Paragraph A

15. Paragraph B

16. Paragraph C

17. Paragraph D

18. Paragraph F

19. Paragraph G

20. Paragraph H

Example Paragraph E         Answer: – vii

Questions 21-26

Answer the questions below.

Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

21. When did the bird of bitten reach its peak of number?

22. What does the author describe the bittern’s character?

23. What is the main cause for the chick bittern’s death?

24. What is the main food for chick bittern?

25. What system does it secure the stability for bittern’s population?

26. Besides bittern and rare vegetation, what mammal does the plan benefit?

Questions 27

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 27 on your answer sheet.

27. What is the main purpose of this passage?

A. Main characteristic of a bird called bittern.

B. Cooperation can protect an endangered species.

C. The difficulty of access information of bittern’s habitat and diet.

D. To save wetland and reedbed in UK.

Reading Passage – 3

Scent of success

A.  Innovation and entrepreneurship, in the right mix, can bring spectacular results and propel a business ahead of the pack. Across a diverse range of commercial successes, from the Hills Hoist clothes line to the Cochlear ear implant, it is hard to generalize beyond saying the creators tapped into something consumers could not wait to get their hands on. However, most ideas never make it to the market. Some ideas that innovators are spruiking to potential investors include new water-saving shower heads, a keyless locking system, ping-pong balls that keep pollution out of rainwater tanks, making teeth grow from stem cells inserted in the gum, and technology to stop LPG tanks from exploding.

Grant Kearney, chief executive of the Innovation Exchange, which connects businesses to innovation networks, says he hears of great business ideas that he knows will never get on the market. “Ideas by themselves are absolutely useless,” he says. “An idea only becomes innovation when it is connected to the right resources and capabilities.”

B. One of Australia’s latest innovation successes stems from a lemon-scented bath-room cleaner called Shower Power, the formula for which was concocted in a factory in Yatala, Queensland. In 1995, Tom Quinn and John Heron bought a struggling cleaning products business, OzKleen, for 250,000. It was selling 100 different kinds of cleaning products, mainly in bulk. The business was in bad shape, the cleaning formulas were ineffective and environmentally harsh, and there were few regular clients.

Now Shower Power is claimed to be the top-selling bathroom cleaning product in the country. In the past 12 months, almost four million bottles of OzKleen’s Power products have been sold and the company forecasts 2004 sales of 10 million bottles. The company’s, sales in2003 reached $11 million, with 700k of business being exports. In particular, Shower Power is making big inroads on the British market.

C. OzKleen’s turnaround began when Quinn and Heron hired an industrial chemist to revitalize the product line. Market research showed that people were looking for a better cleaner for the bathroom, universally regarded as the hardest room in the home to clean. The company also wanted to make the product formulas more environmentally friendly One of Tom Quinn’s sons, Peter, aged 24 at the time, began working with the chemist on the formulas, looking at the potential for citrus-based cleaning products. He detested all the chlorine-based cleaning products that dominated the market.

“We didn’t want to use chlorine, simple as that,” he says. “It offers bad working conditions and there’s no money in it.” Peter looked at citrus ingredients, such as orange peel, to replace the petroleum by-products in cleaners. He is credited with finding the Shower Power formula. “The head,” he says. The company is the recipe is in a vault somewhere and in my sole owner of the intellectual property.

D. To begin with, Shower Power was sold only in commercial quantities but Tom Quinn decided to sell it in 750ml bottles after the constant “raves” from customers at their retail store at Beenleigh, near Brisbane. Customers were travel- ling long distances to buy supplies. Others began writing to OzKleen to say how good Shower Power was. “We did a dummy label and went to see Woolworths,” Tom Quinn says. The Woolworths buyer took a bottle home and was able to remove a stain from her basin that had been impossible to shift. From that point on, she championed the product and OzKleen had its first supermarket order, for a palette of Shower Power worth $3000. “We were over the moon,” says OzKleen’s financial controller, Belinda McDonnell.

E. Shower Power was released in Australian supermarkets in 1997 and became the top-selling product in its category within six months. It was all hands on deck at the factory, labeling and bottling Shower Power to keep up with demand. OzKleen ditched all other products and rebuilt the business around Shower Power. This stage, recalls McDonnell, was very tough. “It was hand-to-mouth, cash flow was very difficult,” she says. OzKleen had to pay new-line fees to supermarket chains, which also squeezed margins.

F. OzKleen’s next big break came when the daughter of a Coles Myer executive 1 used the product while on holidays in Queensland and convinced her father that Shower Power should be in Coles supermarkets. Despite the product success, Peter Quinn says the company was wary of how long the sales would last and hesitate to spend money on upgrading the manufacturing process. As a result, he remembers long periods of working around the clock to keep up with orders. Small tanks were still being used so batches were small and bottles were labeled and filled manually The privately owned OzKleen relied on cash-flow to expand.

“The equipment could not keep up with demand,” Peter Quinn says. Eventually a new bottling machine was bought for $50,000 in the hope of streamlining production, but he says: “We got ripped off.” Since then he has been developing a new automated bottling machine that can control the amount of foam produced in the liquid, so that bottles can be filled more effectively – “I love coming up with new ideas.” The machine is being patented.

G. Peter Quinn says OzKleen’s approach to research and development is open slather. “If I need it, I get I it. It is about doing something simple that no one else is doing. Most of these things are just sitting in front of people … it’s just seeing the opportunities.” With a tried and tested product, OzKleen is expanding overseas and developing more Power-brand household products. Tom Quinn, who previously ran a real estate agency, says: “We are competing with the same market all over the world; the (cleaning) products are sold everywhere.” Shower Power, known as Bath Power in Britain, was launched four years ago with the help of an export development grand from the Federal Government.

“We wanted to do it straight away because we realized we had the same opportunities worldwide.” OzKleen is already number three in the British market, and the next stop is France. The Power range includes cleaning products for carpets, kitchens and pre-wash stain removal. The Quinn and Heron families are still involved. OzKleen has been approached with offers to buy the company, but Tom Quinn says he is happy with things as they are. “We’re having too much fun.”

Questions 28-34

Reading Passage 1 has six paragraphs, A—G

Which paragraph contains the following information?

Write the correct letter A-G, in boxes 28-34 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

28. Description of one family member persuading another of selling cleaning products

29. An account of the cooperation of all factory staff to cope with sales increase

30. An account of the creation of the formula of Shower Power

31. An account of buying the original OzKleen Company

32. Description of Shower Power’s international expansion

33. The reason of changing the packaging size of Shower Power

34. An example of some innovative ideas

Questions 35 – 38

Look at the following people and list of statements below.

Match each person with the correct statement

Write the correct letter A-E in boxes 35-38 on your answer sheet.

35. Grant Keamey

36. Tom Quinn

37. Peter Quinn

38. Belinda McDonnell

List of Statement

A. Described his story of selling his product to a chain store

B. Explained there was a shortage of money when sales suddenly increased

C. Believe innovations need support to succeed

D. Believes new products like Shower Power may incur risks

E. Says business won’t succeed with innovations

Questions 39 – 40

Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D.

Write your answers in boxes 39-40 on your answer sheet.

39. Tom Quinn changed the bottle size to 750ml to make Shower Power

A. Easier to package.

B. Appealing to individual customers.

C. Popular in foreign markets.

D. Attractive to supermarkets.

40. Why did Tom Quinn decide not to sell OzKleen?

A. No one wanted to buy OzKleen.

B. New products were being developed in OzKleen.

C. He couldn’t make an agreement on the price with the buyer.

D. He wanted to keep things unchanged.


1. E

2. B

3. G

4. F

5. D






11. TRUE

12. D

13. B

14. ii

15. v

16. i

17. viii

18. vi

19. iii

20. iv

21. 1950s

22. (being) shy/ shyness

23. starvation

24. native(fish)

25. partnership project/ network (of sites)/ partnership project network

26. otter and brown – hare

27. B

28. F

29. E

30. C

31. B

32. G

33. D

34. A

35. C

36. A

37. D

38. B

39. B

40. D

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BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 8
BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 8

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