Imagine you’re a male firefly and you only have a month or so to find your soulmate. You flash your lights and strut your stuff, but nothing comes of it. Then, a ray of hope shines as you witness the tantalizing bioluminescent strobe patterns of your one true love. You buzz forth only to find a female of a different species who is much more interested in chomping down than she is in settling down. The photuris firefly blurs the lines between fight and flight that we hold so dear in life, death, and taxonomy.
The vast amber waves of grain seem an unceasing sea of unbroken golden wheat and prairie grasses. But a mighty beasts roams this American savanna, framed by a blue mountain backdrop. It’s size dwarfs most other creatures on the continent and it’s appetite is nearly insatiable. But big, brown, and bearded are the qualities America’s largest animal needs to survive in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.
If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Or, at least, get some distance between you and that molten underwater volcano. But there’s one animal that can not only take the heat, it needs it to survive. The tube worm is a weird-looking matchstick at the bottom of the ocean, and it’s just dying for some of those sweet sweet thermal vents. But that’s just how it works as an extremophile in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.
The animal kingdom usually seems pretty straightforward. The bigger animal eats the smaller animal. But there are some cases where the tables are turned and the little guys win. At first glance, the Epomis beetle might seem like an easy meal for a hungry frog. But not all is as it seems in this brutal episode of Life, Death, and Taxonomy.
The life of an aquatic herbivore may mean non-stop soggy salads but there’s one South American fish that doesn’t mind at all. They may look like their killer kin, but they hide a secret smile that allows them to live vegan lifestyle. But adaptation is the name of the game in Life, Death, and taxonomy.
We have a saying in India: “Don’t go near King Cobras”. But the Indian Grey Mongoose says “bupkis” to that. When you are combating the world’s largest venomous snake, you’d better be light on your feet, swift as the sunrise, and also completely immune to snake venom. Surviving isn’t easy in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.
The earth is covered in creatures with all kinds of amazing traits. But sometimes, those traits can be pretty horrifying by human standards. In the Congo, when push comes to shove, you better have something up your sleeve. If you don’t have sleeves, like most amphibians, you might have to dig a little deeper to survive in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.
Alright ye landlubbers! Hoist up the main sail, strike yer colors, and listen to the tale of the Black Sea Devil—a fish with the face of a demon. With cold, lifeless eyes and a mouth full of razor sharp teeth, the Sea Devil won’t think twice about snatchin’ up its prey and draggin’ it down to the black depths of the abyss. So get into yer submersible, take a dive, and remember that here there be monsters in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.
In nature, animals fight hard to survive and pass on their genes to the next generation. For an insect in the frigid regions of North America, even the pursuit of adulthood is a demanding task. Meet one caterpillar that is just dying to leave their life crawling on the ground and take to the sky as a moth. This unwavering quest is surely an inspiring part of Life, Death, and Taxonomy.