Large Blue Butterfly : The Wolf in Ant’s Clothing

The large blue butterfly (Maculinea arion – or Phengaris arion, depending on who you ask) is both beauty and the beast. Beauty because … well, it’s a pretty little butterfly, so what more could you ask for? The beast because it’s also such a master of deception, infiltration and carnivory it could be the antagonist in a sci fi horror movie. A fairly brutal sci fi horror movie at that.

So welcome to the world of a butterfly that is both parasite and predator, combining the tendencies of the cuckoo and the wolf. Oh, and it spends a chunk of its life pretending to be an ant.

Sometimes Nature’s just plain weird … And wonderful, of course.

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Hit the View Post button to see what the large blue looks like, learn more about its bonkers life and explore the frankly mind-blowing world of myrmecophiles in all their almost uncountable variety …

Banteng : The Horns of a Dilemma

Wild cattle don’t come much more beautiful or impressive than the banteng (Bos javanicus), one of three (or is it two?) surviving cattle species that are as much a part of wild Asia as are the tiger or the orang-utan. Like the tiger and the orang-utan, the banteng has not done very well in the face of human pressure, but it has one thing those animals don’t: a large population – its largest, in fact – living wild in a country that was never part of its natural range.

So what does it mean for conservation when an endangered animal’s safest and most successful home is a place Nature never put it …?


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Photos and film and lots of further info on not just the banteng, but also the gaur (Bos gaurus) and the kind of tragic kouprey (Bos sauveli) await in the shownotes…

Steller’s Sea Cow : Steller’s Menagerie Part Two

This is the business end of the two part story of Georg Steller, Vitus Bering and Steller’s Sea Cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) – shipwreck, death, survival, extinction and a lost world of astounding widllife. The Great Northern Expedition is coming to its dramatic end, and not everyone – or everything – is getting out alive.

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A wealth of images and further info awaits in the shownotes below …

Steller’s Sea Cow : Steller’s Menagerie Part One

Steller’s sea cow (Hydrodamalis gigas) was one of the most surprising, dramatic and generally amazing animals to have shared the world with modern humans. To tell its story is going to take two episodes – and this first of them, to be honest, doesn’t even feature the sea cow itself. Partly that’s because we have to talk about some of those modern humans too. Specifically, Vitus Bering and Georg Steller. Two men who would share with that gigantic creature an extraordinary tale of exploration, survival, death and extinction. Oh, and there’s a load of other amazing wildlife involved as well …

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Come back in a couple of weeks for Part Two, but in the meantime read on for shownotes, photos, video and the like …

Corn Crake : The Undiscovered Song

Sometimes the sound an animal makes becomes kind of iconic. For a handful of birds in particular, the sound can become so iconic that it’s the first thing people think of when they’re talking about the bird. But in the case of the corn crake (Crex crex), for hundreds of years, things have gone one step further. In a lot of ways, the bird is its voice. Which is just as well, because your chances of actually seeing one are kind of slim …

 

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Read on for shownotes, photos, video and links …

Lord Howe Island Stick Insect : The Lazarus Stick

This episode is all about what was once the rarest insect in the world – the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect (Dryococelus australis) – and the bizarre story of how it escaped extinction, pulling off one of the most amazing tricks of species survival the world has ever seen …

 

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Greenland Shark : The Shark in Darkness

Where better to start The Wild Episode than with a shark? Specifically, the Greenland Shark. Somniosus microcephalus.

One of the least well known, and most mysterious, top predators in the world. An enormous Arctic shark that lives longer than any other vertebrate, eats almost anything, and loses its sight because its eyes get eaten …

 

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What Is The Wild Episode And When’s It Coming?

It’s a podcast about Nature and wild animals (and sometimes humans and history, too), operating – for now, anyway – under the catchy tagline:

A Collection of Wonders, Curiosities and Occasionally Horrors from the Natural World.

Amazing stories about amazing animals. Now and again also about amazing people, or amazing science, or … well, honestly it’s about anything that takes my fancy. For each episode, the idea starts with an animal – one specific animal – and then I’ll just be following where my curiosity takes me. I reckon every animal on this planet has something, or several things, about it that are amazing, or wonderful, or just plain weird.

Read on for more …