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 …