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The Wild Episode

Science Podcasts


Location:

United Kingdom

Language:

English


Episodes

Portuguese Man-o-War : The Flagship of the Blue Fleet

1/14/2020
The Portuguese man o’ war (Physalia physalis) is the most famous and spectacular member of the Blue Fleet. Questions to be asked and answered: What is the Blue Fleet? What obscure connection does it have to the Aquatic Ape theory of human evolution? Just how insanely weird is the Portuguese man o’ war anyway, and what strange connection does it have to another member of the Blue Fleet – the improbably beautiful sea swallow, a ferociously predatory sea slug? Subscribe to the show to make...

Duration:00:27:40

Anelosimus eximius : The Social Spider

12/5/2019
Most spiders live solitary lives, but Anelosimus eximius is an example of a different lifestyle: colonial living. A very social spider, that maintains and defends a communal web and hunts in packs. And because it hunts in packs, it can target bigger prey than your average spider. But it is itself the target for some very unwelcome attention, from thieves and killers. Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, corrections,...

Duration:00:29:18

Great Northern Tilefish : The Great Dying of 1882

11/19/2019
The Great Northern Tilefish (Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps) is a big, beautiful fish from the western Atlantic. It's one of those rare animals that is capable of reshaping its physical environment over vast areas. But it's also interesting for a rather unique reason. It was discovered, entirely accidentally, in 1879 and within 3 years of that discovery, something entirely unexpected and dramatic happened that involved millions upon millions of dead fish. Subscribe to the show to make sure...

Duration:00:28:02

Bone-House Wasp : A Halloween Ossuary

10/29/2019
The Bone-House Wasp (Deuteragenia ossarium) is recently discovered species of spider wasp that has some remarkable habits. So, three questions. What is a spider wasp? What is an ossuary? And what connects the two to make for a suitable Wild Episode subject? Oh, and can I come with a tenuous excuse to talk about Beowulf and Old English? (Spoilers: yes, I can). Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, corrections, suggestions or...

Duration:00:21:33

Ruppell's Vulture : The Seven Mile High Club

10/9/2019
Ruppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppelli) is one of the biggest vultures in the world, but it's real claim to fame is more spectacular. It is the highest flying bird on Earth. Certain risks come with being a master of the air, though, which leads us into a discussion that may make this episode unsuitable for some listeners: bird strikes, and their consequences for both aircraft and birds. And merely by virtue of being a vulture, Ruppell's Vulture has one another claim to fame: it is a member of a...

Duration:00:29:52

Bootlace Worm : Maximum Worm

9/24/2019
The world record for longest animal is held by the bootlace worm (Lineus longissimus), a Nemertean or ribbon worm from the North Sea. In fact, it's held by a Scottish bootlace worm that was washed ashore in 1864. But is that record reliable? How long do bootlace worms actually get? And what is a ribbon worm anyway? Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, corrections, suggestions or feedback to help make those future episodes...

Duration:00:28:28

Exploding Ant : Pop Goes The Ant

9/3/2019
Colobopsis explodens is one of a group of ants known as exploding ants. Highly social insects that have developed an extraordinary approach to the defense of their colonies - a mass of workers, every one of which is prepared for the ultimate sacrifice. But how and why, you might wonder, does an ant make itself explode? Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, corrections, suggestions or feedback to help make those future...

Duration:00:28:20

Cuvier's Beaked Whale : Maximum Dive

7/25/2019
Cuvier’s beaked whale (Ziphius cavirostris) is a member of a rarely seen, little known and little studied group of whales – the beaked whales – that are in fact widespread, relatively common and completely remarkable. The particular claim to fame of Cuvier’s beaked whale is its astonishing diving capabilities: it holds the record for the deepest dive by an air-breathing animal (without the aid of a submarine!). So we’re heading out, into the open ocean, to visit with one of the most rarely...

Duration:00:30:14

Bone-Eating Worm : Whalefall

6/25/2019
The weirdest animals yet to appear on The Wild Episode: Osedax, a whole genus of bone-eating worms that for tens of millions of years have been colonising giant carcasses in the deep sea. They have no mouths, the males are miniature, they secrete acid and they grow roots like trees. Weird, like I say. But wonderful too. Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, corrections, suggestions or feedback to help make those future...

Duration:00:27:34

Russian Tortoise : The Big Sleep

6/4/2019
Come and meet the tortoise that went to the moon! The Russian Tortoise (Testudo or Agrionemys horsfieldii) was the first vertebrate animal to fly around the moon. It spends more time in hibernation/aestivation than just about any other vertebrate. And despite being probably the commonest and widespread tortoise in the world, it's vulnerable to extinction. What could humans possibly be doing to threaten such a common animal with disappearance? Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't...

Duration:00:32:10

Antarctic Midge : Antarctica's Biggest Pedestrian

5/14/2019
What is the biggest terrestrial animal native to Antarctica? It's the Antarctic Midge (Belgica antarctica), a wingless fly that at no more than a quarter of an inch in length is by some distance Antarctica's biggest pedestrian. This is life right on the edge of possibility ... Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, corrections, suggestions or feedback to help make those future episodes better!

Duration:00:29:23

Gelada : The Monkey on the Mountain

4/2/2019
The gelada (Theropithecus gelada) is the only living member of the Theropithecus genus. It's the only grass-eating monkey on Earth. It's probably the most terrestrial primate on Earth. It's an amazing species. But it's also an excuse to ask interesting questions (though not necessarily answer them!). Questions like: what is a species, anyway? Shownotes at www.thewildepisode.com. Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments,...

Duration:00:31:20

Spider-tailed Horned Viper : Possibly the Coolest Snake in the World

2/19/2019
The spider-tailed horned viper (Pseudocerastes urarachnoides) is in many ways an unremarkable snake. But in one very particular way - its tail, and what it does with it - it is utterly extraordinary. Welcome to the weird and whacky world of caudal luring, and the snake that has taken that behaviour to an amazing extreme ... Shownotes at www.thewildepisode.com. Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, corrections, suggestions or...

Duration:00:23:44

Mariana Snailfish : As Deep As A Fish Can Go

12/13/2018
The Mariana snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei) was only discovered and described a couple of years ago: and it was a big deal, because no fish has ever been brought up from greater depth. How do fish survive, kilometres down in the ocean? Why is this one named after someone called Swire? And what does it all have to do with The Lost World, a space shuttle and a famous film director? Shownotes at www.thewildepisode.com. Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild...

Duration:00:30:29

Crowned Eagle : The Predator Next Door

12/4/2018
The Crowned Eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) is one of the largest birds of prey in Africa. It's probably the most powerful and almost certainly the one that regularly goes after the biggest prey. But is the crowned eagle, as is sometimes suggested, the only living bird to qualify for the description 'man-eater'? Shownotes at www.thewildepisode.com. Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, corrections, suggestions or feedback to...

Duration:00:28:35

Violet Oil Beetle : The Hitchhiker From Hell

11/20/2018
The violet oil beetle (Meloe violaceus) is our way into a discussion of leaky leg joints, toxic oil, aphrodisiacs, the cantharidin world, hitch-hiking, egg-laying on an industrial scale and hypermetamorphosism. There are not many animals that better illustrate just how weird and wonderful Nature can get ... Shownotes at www.thewildepisode.com. Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, corrections, suggestions or feedback to help...

Duration:00:26:25

Australian Trumpet : Maximum Snail

11/6/2018
The biggest snail in the world, Syrinx aruanus, turns out to be a highly specialized and effective predator. And we'll get to it via dolphins, mistaken identity, a unique human culture and the sound of trumpets. Shownotes at www.thewildepisode.com. Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, corrections, suggestions or feedback to help make those future episodes better. And now you can find The Wild Episode on Facebook too!

Duration:00:27:15

Epomis, Cymothoa, Hymenoepimecis : Halloween Horrors

10/23/2018
In recognition that Halloween is almost upon us, we pay a visit to Nature's dark side. A beetle, a crustacean and a wasp that do really pretty extraordinary things. But not, let's be honest, things that you could really call 'nice'. Predators and parasites that demonstrate just how surprising. and kind of merciless, the natural world can sometimes be ... Shownotes at www.thewildepisode.com. Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your...

Duration:00:26:32

Northern Fulmar : The Foul Gull of St Kilda

10/9/2018
The northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) is one of the commonest seabirds in the North Atlantic, and a true master of the air. It is also, slightly less romantically, a master of vomiting noxious oil. And it is one of those rare species that appears to have benefited from humanity's industrial exploitation of the natural environment. But most importantly for this episode, it is a central character in the story of an extraordinary human community - a key part in explaining how, for...

Duration:00:31:59

Baikal Seal : The Seal That's Never Seen The Sea

9/25/2018
The Baikal seal is the only purely freshwater seal species in the world, and it lives in precisely one place: Lake Baikal in Siberia. A lake which is itself extraordinary - the deepest in the world - and which is home not only to that unique seal, but to a host of crustaceans, fish and other animals that occur nowhere else on Earth. Shownotes at www.thewildepisode.com. Subscribe to the show to make sure you don't miss any future Wild Episodes, and e-mail your comments, corrections,...

Duration:00:30:33