Mariana Snailfish : As Deep As A Fish Can Go

When the Mariana snailfish (Pseudoliparis swirei) was discovered a couple of years ago it was a big deal, because no fish has ever been brought up from greater depth. How do fish survive, kilometres down in the ocean? Why is this one named after someone called Swire? And what does it all have to do with The Lost World, a space shuttle and a famous film director?

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Read on for photos and links (BUT NOTE!: apart from music credits, full shownotes are going to be delayed for this episode, I’m afraid. They won’t be available until 2019 has started!) …

Crowned Eagle : The Predator Next Door

The Crowned Eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) is one of the largest birds of prey in Africa. It’s probably the most powerful and almost certainly the one that regularly goes after the biggest prey. But is the crowned eagle, as is sometimes suggested, the only living bird to qualify for the description ‘man-eater’?

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Read on for some very fine photos, video and links relating to the extremely impressive crowned eagle …

Violet Oil Beetle : The Hitchhiker From Hell

The violet oil beetle (Meloe violaceus) is our way into a discussion of leaky leg joints, toxic oil, aphrodisiacs, the cantharidin world, hitch-hiking, egg-laying on an industrial scale and hypermetamorphosism. There are not many animals that better illustrate just how weird and wonderful Nature can get …

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Read on for photos and links that’ll help you explore the weird and wonderful world of the oil beetles …

Australian Trumpet : Maximum Snail

The Australian Trumpet (Syrinx aruanus) is the biggest snail in the world, possibly the biggest snail in the history of life on Earth. It is the size and weight of a small child. It is also a highly specialized predator. But to get to that specialized predation, we’re taking a little journey through the interesting habits of bottlenose dolphins, a case of mistaken identity and a remarkable human culture that had some highly distinctive ritual practices …

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Read on for photos, video and links that expand on the world of Shark Bay’s dolphins, the Torres Strait Islanders and, of course, the biggest snail on Earth …

Epomis, Cymothoa, Hymenoepimecis : Halloween Horrors

In recognition that Halloween is almost upon us, we pay a visit to Nature’s dark side. A beetle, a crustacean and a wasp that do really pretty extraordinary things. But not, let’s be honest, things that you could really call ‘nice’. Predators and parasites that demonstrate just how surprising. and kind of merciless, the natural world can sometimes be …

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Despite what I said in the show, I’ve managed to keep the shownotes not too terribly gruesome. A little bit creepy, perhaps, but not horrible. So read on for photos, video, links to research papers and all the usual goodies …

Northern Fulmar : The Foul Gull of St. Kilda

The northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) is one of the commonest seabirds in the North Atlantic, and a true master of the air. It is also, slightly less romantically, a master of vomiting noxious oil. And it is one of those rare species that appears to have benefited from humanity’s industrial exploitation of the natural environment. But most importantly for this episode, it is a central character in the story of an extraordinary human community – a key part in explaining how, for centuries, a village of perhaps two hundred people survived in one of Britain’s most isolated, bleak locations …

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Read on below for show notes with plenty more on the fulmar, but also some pointers to the full, amazing story of St, Kilda and its human inhabitants …

Baikal Seal : The Seal That’s Never Seen The Sea

The Baikal seal (Pusa sibirica) is the only purely freshwater seal species in the world, and it lives in precisely one place: Lake Baikal in Siberia. A lake which is itself extraordinary – the deepest in the world – and which is home not only to that unique seal, but to a host of other animals that occur nowhere else on Earth.

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Read on below for show notes, with plenty more on Lake Baikal and its unique wildlife, including links to some of the research mentioned in the show …

New Facebook Page, New Header Image

The Wild Episode now has its very own Facebook page.

If you go there and like, follow etc. that page, you’ll be able to keep up with what’s going on, give feedback, all the usual social media kind of stuff. So if you’re the kind of person who spends any time on Facebook, please do pop over there and give The Wild Episode a like.

(Always remembering, of course, that the no. 1 best way to stay in touch with The Wild Episode is to subscribe to the podcast in your app of choice!)

Just for a little change of scene, we have a new header image up at the top of this page. I did like that lovely Stomias boa, so there’s a good chance it’ll re-appear one day, but for now we’re going with this charming critter:

Which is, apparently, supposed to be a Humboldt’s hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus humboldtii), a skunk from the southern tip of South America. As with a great many old illustrations of animals, it’s not exactly a fantastic representation if that is indeed what it’s supposed to be. Too much red/brown, not nearly enough white, not enough fur/hair generally. However, it’s not quite as simple as that.

Read on to see just how not simple it is, and for cute film of a bouncing skunk …

Spectral Bat : Maximum Bat

The Spectral Bat (Vampyrum spectrum – which is pretty cool as scientific names go) is the biggest bat in the Americas, and the biggest carnivorous bat in the world. A properly high-ranking predator in its environment, out there in the darkness enjoying a diet that makes its insectivorous, piscivorous and frugivorous relatives look like they’re hardly even trying …

It deserves, I think, to be better known, so here’s my tiny contribution to putting that right …

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Read on below for show notes, including photos and film and links to further info on the wonderful world of meat-eating bats …

Shark, Stick, Crake : Updates and Supplementals

Revisiting the subjects of the first three Wild Episodes!

Just how common is the huge, ridiculously long-lived Greenland Shark (Episode One)? New research has the beginnings of an answer.

The Lord Howe Island Stick Insect (Episode Two) can’t go home until someone gets rid of the rats that invaded it. Those rats are still there, but elsewhere there’s big, big news in the world of rat eradication from islands …

And finally, just how badly did I mislead you in the corn crake episode (Episode Three)? Not too badly, but it turns out the truth about Scotland’s corn crakes is not as cheerful as I suggested.


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Shownotes follow below …

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