Episode 120 – Peacock Spider: The Real Tiny Dancer

“And today we’re talking about an adorable arachnid with as much style as they have charisma. But more on that later.”

While John Travolta dances to cope with the stresses of life and Kevin Bacon dances so that the Bomont seniors can go to prom, the peacock spider is a much more dire dancer. When he puts on a show, it’s always “dazzle or be dashed”. But that’s what happens when you’re dancing on the edge of Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

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Episode 119 – Least Weasel: The Voracious Forest Noodle

“Today we’re talking about an animal that least but certainly not last. But more on that later.”

There are two basic paths of sustenance in the animal kingdom. You can gather and graze or you can eat the grazers. Predators are usually large, powerful, and able to take down prey that are built to resist them. But one true carnivore proves that meat eaters come in all shapes and sizes. And to witness this animal’s hunting habits, you wouldn’t think he’s at all disadvantaged by his stature. But, even for the least of carnivores, ferocity is the key to a full belly in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

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Episode 118 – Sunflower Sea Star: Limb from Limb

“And today we’re talking about an arms race that moves about three feet per minute, but more on that later…”

We all love starfish, cute, slow-moving, harmless little creatures whose desiccated husks make for great souvenirs from your trip to Key Largo. But not all starfish can be as whimsical as Patrick Star, some are far more strange and nefarious. The ironically named sunflower sea star is one such animal. Crawling across the seafloor at a disturbing speed, this enormous echinoderm has dozens of tentacled arms, eats whatever it can find, and even rips off its own arms. Why? Well, let’s just say things are going viral here in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

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Episode 117 – Bolas Spider: The Swinging Moth Muncher

“…and today we’re talking about a spider that’s truly magnificent. But more on that in a few minutes.”

Australia is no stranger to animals that do things differently. The denizens of the large island often have to carve their own path. It’s not surprising that the continent’s animals are often as intrepid and undaunted by challenges as its people. But innovation and the skills to use them is how some creatures chose to wrangle their goals in Life, Death, and Taxonomy. 

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Episode 116 – Argonaut: The Shelled Sailor

“And today we’re talking about a nautilus that isn’t actually a nautilus at all, but it is a Greek mythological hero. More on some of that later.”

You may have heard of Alexander the Great’s famous diving bell, but he was far from the first earthling to explore the depths with trapped air. Putzing around the ocean in a paper-thin shell, the argonaut has a sophisticatedly simple way of staying buoyant. But nothing gets this odd octopus down here in LDT.

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Episode 115 – Baikal Seal: The Seal with a Bubble Buddy

“And today we’re talking about a seal that can play the saxophone! But not really! But not much more on that later.”

Lake Baikal stretches across southern Siberia and it contains enough water to exceed all of the Great Lakes combined. It’s so large and deep, it’s said to be a leading candidate for the Earth’s next ocean, as it continues to grow. For now, it’s freshwater shores and depths are a home to a variety of plants and animals. But what happens when this immense inland sea freezes over with six feet of ice. The winter always requires the best of every species, but in this unique ecosystem, one marine mammal uses persistence and ingenuity to thrive in this otherwise inhospitable season. But that’s what it takes to survive freezing temperatures in Life, Death, and Taxonomy. 

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Episode 114 – Electric Eel: The Electric Puppet Master

“And today we’re talking about an electric water type Pokémon. But more on that later.”

If there’s anything we learned as kids, it’s stop drop and roll, don’t do drugs, and never mix electricity with water. But a certain stunning slippery serpentine creature didn’t get the memo. If you go swimming with the electric eel, you might find the results to be shocking. But when you’re a living battery, you just have to go where the current takes you here in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

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Episode 113 – Kinkajou: The Tree Sower

“And today we’re talking about a carnivore in name only. But more on that later.”

A seed falls from overhead into the soft soil beneath. It’s buried by a steady rain that lasts all afternoon. It’s growth will mark the beginning of a new tree in the rain forest. But where did that seed come from? A bird? A squirrel? A monkey? No, this one came from an unlikely gardener. A small arboreal carnivore. If her plant takes root and survives, it may one day tower over the other trees in the forest to grant shelter and safety to her descendants. But sometimes it takes an unlikely and unwitting hero to continue the cycle of Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

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Episode 112 – Koala: The Pickiest Herbivore

“And today we’re talking about a cuddly looking lazy old bear that’s not a bear at all. But more on that later…”

Hoigh app in the eucalyptus trays of Ustreya, the koala beeah suffahs from a caise of mistaken oidentity. It’s not really even a beeah, it’s a mahsupial loike the kaingaroo. And it has has en unusual doiet that requires both a laizy disposition and a unique doigestive system to wek. But win yah faivrit food is en essintial oil, you do whaht it taikes to survoive heeah in Loife, Dith, and Taxonomee.

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Episode 111 – White Bellbird: The Avian Airhorn

“And today we’re talking about a bird with perfect projection for a passeriform. But more on that later…”

In the bird world, it takes a lot to attract a mate. Some go for brilliant colorful costumes, other’s choreograph a complex dance, and a select few even dabble in architecture. But why do any of that when you can go for SHEER VOLUME! There’s one little aviator that produces its own air raid siren to get attention from the ladies. When she stops for a closer look, she’s blasted with a wave of sound the likes of which are rare in nature. But sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

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