Episode 144 – Horned Viper: The Vied Viper

“…and today we’re talking about an animal that has adapted to a legless lifestyle in an arid region. But more on that later.”

Cursed to crawl on their bellies, snakes have taken to the limbless life with seemingly listless languid movement. But these apparently listless articulations of their sinuous bodies, are done with great intention. Snakes are able to slither almost everywhere. Without claws, legs, or arms that can climb trees, slide across the ground, and some can even glide on the air. But the horned viper is posed with a particular challenge in the form of soft shifting sand. But laudable locomotion is an interesting way a serpent can make its way through Life, Death, and Taxonomy. 

Episode 143 – Barreleye: The Spookiest Fish

“…and today we’re talking about a mysterious organic, deep-diving submarine. But more on that later.”

Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, there sits an alien monster fish that stares up straight through its own skull to spy prey: the barreleye. How does it do this? By being one of the weirdest creatures alive, even for deep-sea animals—and that’s saying something! But looking strange is just a fortunate side effect of being an empty-headed harbinger of jellyfish death from below here in LDT.

Episode 142 – Vinegaroon: A Real Whippersnapper

“…And today we’re talking about an arthropod that might be right at home on English dining table next to a bottle of brown sauce. But more on that later…”

The desert is home to some strange creatures with some even stranger adaptation. Few phyla find as much success in arid climates like arthropods, which develop an arsenal of deadly defense mechanisms. But one armored titan is unique even among his bug and spider kin. While they may choose the paths of speed and venom, our hero chooses to ooze to gain an edge. But sometimes a strange liquid is the perfect way to safeguard Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Episode 141 – Woodlouse: The Pill Bug is No Bug

“…and today we’re talking about a bug of very many names. But more on that right now.”

You might think that gills are just for ocean dwellers, and you’d be wrong. For the terrestrial woodlouse or roly-poly, using gills is as easy as breathing. But how and why does it have gills? It’s all a part of its unique classification as a crustacean rather than an insect–and it involves staying as damp as possible. But keeping it moist is how this isopod of many names survives here in LDT.

Episode 140 – Mako Shark: Hot-Blooded Hotrod

Sharks are a primordial design. A torpedo built to catch and shred prey. These cold black eyes, like a doll’s eyes, are nothing but dark pools of basic, rudimentary instinct, right? Well some sharks are built differently than their kin. The mako shark is one of a few fish with an interesting adaptation that is foreign among fish. These hot-blooded predators of the temperate ocean have an ability that gives them an edge against their most elusive food sources. Sometimes the only way to survive is chase down and catch Life, Death, and Taxonomy…

Episode 139 – Giant Manta Ray: A Focused Fish

“…and today we’re talking about a buccal pumping pup sucking histotroph in huge chunks. That sentence will only get grosser when you know what those words mean. But more on that later…”

Sometimes the biggest giants are the gentlest giants. But this gentle giant is also a genius giant. While the oceanic manta ray might not be smarter than a fifth-grader, it does use its brain in ways that would make other fish extremely sad and jealous if they had any feelings. In fact, it’s those feelings that make the manta ray a prime candidate for smartest swimming blanket. But when you’re the biggest fish in the pond, you can afford a little self-awareness here in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Episode 138 – Crab Spider: A Fantastic Floral Friend

“And today we’re talking about a spider that sat down beside a pretty flower, expertly showcasing a poetic light and dark juxtaposition. But more on that later.”

When your relatives have found a tried and true method of success, it may be hard to strike out on your own path in order to innovate. But innovation may lead to new interesting ways to achieve your goals. The crab spider does just that. They put on a colorful coat and venture off the beaten web. But this little arachnid faces challenges and vulnerabilities that her spider kin never encountered. Such is the nature of Life, Death, and Taxonomy. 

Episode 137 – Polka Dot Tree Frog: A Light in the Darkness

“Today we’re talking about a tree frog with a bright personality. But more on that later.”

The tropical rainforests of South America hide all kinds of rare and fascinating animals – including a host of one-of-a-kind frogs. The polka-dot tree frog may look like your typical aimless amphibian but it actually leads a secret glamorous life full of glow sticks and rave battles. By day, he’s mild mannered Croak Kent. By night, he’s got a glowing personality. But sometimes being seen is how you avoid danger here in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Episode 136 – Orca: The Social Sea King

“…and today we’re talking about a seriously amazing cetacean sensation. But more on that later…”

Upon first look, a cetacean may seem perfectly alien to a human being. But a closer look may reveal soulful eyes, intelligent behavior, and playful attitudes. An even closer inspection will uncover the fact that these organic torpedoes are extremely sophisticated in their social bonds in a way that even human beings can relate to. Though they have a reputation as killers, orcas are family-oriented. For the world’s largest dolphin, sticking together can help them succeed in a vast ocean. But society isn’t just a tool for humans to use, in Life, Death, and Taxonomy. 

Episode 136 – Damselfly: The Damsel Down Under

“And today we’re talking about a damsel down under. But she’s not in distress! She’s thriving! But more on that later…”

Roses are red, the damselfly is blue. They usually fly, but also swim too. The time between hatching and adulthood is often a vulnerable period for insects. Their various stages are often slower and not as well equipped as their ending adult stage. Some insects just have lots of offspring to account for this, while others, like the damselfly, make the most of their instars. It’s all a part of nature’s air and sea show here in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.