Episode 293 – Oilbird: Burning the Midnight Oil

“…and today we’re talking about a ba… I mean bird. But more on that later.”

The caves of the Caribbean are home to a slick bird that thinks it’s a bat. Deep in these midnight caverns, shining an unwelcome light will be met with the anguished screeches of the little devil known as the oilbird. But how does this bird navigate in the pitch black to find its favorite tasty fruit? Well it all comes down to having the right tools for the job here in Life, Death, and Taxonomy. 

Episode 262 – Dog: Man’s Best Friend

“…and today we’re talking about a canis comrade, but more on that later.”

There are many symbiotic relationships in nature, but there is no closer interspecies bond than the one found between humanity and their dogs. Canines and humans have been close companions for so long that we’ve influenced the course of dog adaptation and development. While we’ve changed dogs, dogs have also changed us. The title “man’s best friend” is more than appropriate in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Episode 261 – Reef Stonefish: Point Taken

“…and today we’re talking about a stone at the bottom of the sea. Definitely don’t be on that later.”

It’s no surprise that the most venomous fish in the world is found in none other than the land down under. Hidden among the rocks and coral in Australia and the surrounding islands, the reef stonefish never backs down from a fight. Instead, it attacks with a vitriolic and very venomous vengeance. Its venom is so powerful, it’s worked its way into the folklore and rituals of the natives. But affecting the heart, mind, and soles of your feet is how the stonefish gets by here in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Episode 260 – Bar-Tailed Godwit: Long-Haul Birds

“…and today we are talking about Godwit the Soarin. But more on that later.”

If you’re looking wistfully out the window at a frozen or snowy gray day, you know that winter can be a real drag. Some birds fly south for the winter, and sometimes those birds clog up South Florida roadways. But what if you could fly so far south that it became springs again? That’s what the Bar-Tailed Godwit does, but soaring into the wild blue yonder in search of opportunity can really pay off in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Episode 259 – Wrap-Around Spider: Flat Spider Theory

“…and today we’re talking about a flat character in the animal kingdom, but more on that later.”

There are hundreds of species of spiders that call Australia home. Some small, some big, some deadly, and some…hidden. But one master of disguise tends to order a side of contortion with its camoflauge entre. Taking the term tree hugger a bit too literally, the wrap-around spider keeps out of sight from both predator and prey by getting close and personal with the local flora. But hiding in plain sight is how this spider survives here in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Episode 258 – Phylliroe: The Fake Fish

“…and today we are talking about an impostor that’s not among us, but among the fish of the sea. But more on that later.”

Humans have explored nearly every biome on earth, but when it comes to getting around in the ocean, we are clearly outmatched. Fish are built to ride waves and currents with ease. To effectively navigate the water, we need to mimic fish by wearing fins. One sea slug looked up from the reef to see some tasty resources and did something very similar. Sometimes there’s more than one way to get past a problem, but other challenges require a single solution in Life, Death, and Taxonomy. 

Episode 257 – Markhor: Nature is Metal Gear

“And today we’re talking about a gruff goat with a wooly throat. But more on that later.”

High up in the mountains of central Asia lives a giddy goat with a lot of panache and a penchant for stomping its enemies into the dirt. But the rumor mill stops for no goat, not even for the Markhor, and this cud-chewer’s legendary hooves have earned it a name that have led to an unusual fascination with its spit. But expecting exceptional expectoration is all part of Life, Death and Taxonomy. 

Episode 256 – Large Blue Butterfly: Larval Marvel

“…and today we’re giving our last hope to you. Don’t give it back to me, Bitterblue. But more on that later.”

In the insect world, there are threats around every log and under every leaf. A young grub is all alone in a huge place. Worse yet, a lot of creatures think he tastes slimy yet satisfying. But the large blue caterpillar read How to Win Friends and Influence People and he knows allies are the key to success. But making sure the deal works in your favor is one way to work in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Episode 255 – Magnificent Frigatebird: A Pirate’s Flight

“…and today we are talking about the Pirates of the Caribbean, but not the movie. More on that later.”

Out on the high seas, it’s a dog eat dog eat bird eat other bird’s food kinda world. Yer never safe when you have booty to take home to the littl’uns. You’ll have to keep yer eyes on the skies, as there lurks a thief with wings blacker than his heart, ready to wring the devil out of ya and set sail with yer precious treasure. So if yer a tropical island bird, you better watch for the shadow of the magnificent frigatebird here on Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Episode 254 – Pelican Eel: Sea Shovel

“…and today we’re talking about a big-mouthed, deep-living, inflatable tube man. But more on that later.”

Americans have just enjoyed a holiday of abundance. Many of us have funneled turkey into our gobblers with mirth and glee. But what if you lived in a place where food was less abundant. That’s where the spirit of thankfulness comes in. At the bottom of the sea, the pelican eel really does become a funnel to make the most of the marine snow that trickles down from above. But this year, we can all be thankful that we don’t live in the deep ocean for our entire Life, Death, and Taxonomy.