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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 …

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 …

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 …

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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Subscribe to the Podcast and never miss a Wild Episode! (P.S. Make your friends and family subscribe too!)

And please do E-mail the show (i.e. me!) if you have any comments, complaints, corrections, suggestions, encouragement or even just want to say hello. If the show’s going to survive and improve, feedback’s super-helpful!

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 …