Episode 35 – Thresher Shark: Smack ’em and Snack ’em

“…and today we are talking about a shark that steals a technique from Indiana Jones to get some fishy treasures. But more on that later!”

Intro

The ocean is a great place with lots of room to roam.

The perfect way to escape for the fish that call it home.

“Just stick together and we’ll all be fine,”

The friendly bait fish will chime.

But there’s one who’s a master at the hunting craft,

That captures prey with a whoosh and crack.

The ocean may be great from high to low tide,

But there’s one within its depths from which no fish can hide.

But that’s just the way of the briny sea,

In Life, Death, and Taxonomy

Continue reading Episode 35 – Thresher Shark: Smack ’em and Snack ’em

Episode 34 – Japanese Honey Bee: Hot Hugs From Murderbugs

“…and today we are talking about a sweet bee that secrets glee onto house bees that make honeys when they please inside trees.”

Intro

Being a honey bee means that you can get organic honey without paying the Trader Joe’s prices. But that doesn’t mean life is going to be easy. When predators barge through your hive’s front door, you need to bee like the Japanese Honey Bee and keep a trick hidden up your thorax. It’s just how a busy bee survives in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Continue reading Episode 34 – Japanese Honey Bee: Hot Hugs From Murderbugs

Episode 33 – Southern Grasshopper Mouse: The Wasteland Warrior

“…and today we’re talking about a creature that is the half-orc barbarian class of mice and would give Cluny the Scourge a run for his money.”

Intro

The sonoran desert can be a hard place to find a good meal, especially for a hungry mouse. Plus, what can you do when one of your favorite meals also packs one of the most powerful stings in North America? Sometimes, survival comes down to chemical warfare and an aggressive attitude in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Continue reading Episode 33 – Southern Grasshopper Mouse: The Wasteland Warrior

Episode 32 – Geography Cone Snail: A Diabetical Evil

“…and today we’re talking about a snail that would leave a trail of pale dales, if it were to go to a shell collecting conventional in a town full of handsy guys name dale.”

Description

Sea snail with a cylindrical shell. The shell has a base pinkish white color with brownish red splotches that form thick broken bands. The snails visible foot is also blotchy with brown, yellow, and tan colorations. Like fake harvest time corn decorations. A proboscis protrudes from the side opposite the Apical side (spiral part). The proboscis sheaths a sinister tooth which can shoot out unsuspecting feesh.

Continue reading Episode 32 – Geography Cone Snail: A Diabetical Evil

Episode 31 – Barn Owl: The Sneaky Screech

“…And today we’re talking about sneak flying fluff with the face of an adorable ghost.”

Intro

A predator needs to be fast. The ever-alert prey of the fields and forests always have an ear and eye out for potential threats. If you’re not fast, there’s only one thing you can do, fly under the radar of those ears and eyes. Barn owls have adapted to forgo speed in favor of stealth. But how can they fly through the forest without being seen or heard by vigilant vermin? Defying the laws of aerodynamics is what it takes to catch a quick meal, in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Continue reading Episode 31 – Barn Owl: The Sneaky Screech

Episode 30 – Hoatzin: The Fowl-Smelling Tree Cow

“…And today we are talking about a weird and clumsy birb that is inexplicably not endangered.”

Taxonomy Debate

Given its own order because it’s such a little weirdo. But some think it could be closely related to other birds like tinamous, the Galliformes (gamebirds), the rails, the bustards, seriemas, sandgrouse, doves, turacos and other Cuculiformes, and mousebirds. Others believe they come from prehistoric birds. One compelling reason is that it has claws on it’s wings when it is first hatched. Like archaeopteryx.

Description

About the size of a pheasant. Multicolored with golden yellow breast, dark colored back, featherless blue face, yellow tufts on the top of the head, and red/brown/orange flight feathers. Long tail with distinct tail feathers that splay out. Long neck with a small head. Looks prehistoric.

Measure Up

Wingspan – 65 centimeters (26 in) – How many Hoatzins would it take to get to the top of Machu Pichu? 3,624 Hoatzins.

Length – 65 centimeters (26 in) -How many Hoatzin would it take to equal one topo, an Incan unit of measurement? Hint: a topo is 6,000 thatkiys (One pace). 12,068 Hoatzin

Weight –  816 g (1.8 pounds) – The average birth weight of Peruvian infants decreases (by 65 g) with every 500 meters of altitude by a specific rate. How many infant birth weight decreases would it take to equal an entire Hoatzin. About 12.5 Hoatzins.

Fast Facts

They eat 82% leaves, 10% flowers, and 8% fruit. They clamber around branches clumsily. Pretty tame and will let you get close, unless it gets sick of you. They are social and nest in colonies.

Adults nest above water in seasonally flooded forests. Hatchlings can climb away from nests when threatened by a predator.May also drop into the water and swim to safety.

Episode 29 – Humpback Whale: Krill or be Krilled

Intro

The ocean is a vast world filled with perils, including an array of large, voracious predators looking to make a meal out of anything they can get their jaws around. But there’s one aquatic avenger that seems to answer the call to protect and surf. The Humpback Whale is a creature with sophisticated intelligence but could it be advanced enough to feel empathy? A trait that’s truly rare in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

Continue reading Episode 29 – Humpback Whale: Krill or be Krilled

Episode 28 – Photuris Firefly: From Dusk Till Dawn

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.

Art by xnamaru

Episode 27 – American Bison: The Star Spangled Buffalo

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.

Art by xnamaru

Episode 26 – Tube Worm: Blood Plumes Near Magma Fumes

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.

Art by xnamaru