If it lacks a backbone, we're interested. In this podcast, we are exploring the world of invertebrates, discovering the amazing lives they lead, and thinking carefully about our relationhips with these much-maligned creatures. With the help of experts, we are lifting stones, peering into the water and grubbing in the filth.
Ladybirds with Helen Roy
Red with black spots. The ladybird family, with the seven-spotted ladybird as its ambassador, is beloved. The ladybird is so often figured as a sort of simple, child-appropriate insect; what is there to know about these domed beetles, beyond that sense of them we developed in childhood? Tom is joined by Dr. Helen Roy, ladybird expert, ecologist and President of the Royal Entomolgoical Society to delve into the complexities of the coccinellidae, whilst also considering the cultural heft of our dotted mates.
The Antarctic Midge and Cold Tolerance with Nick Teets
What does it take it be the Antarctic's only endemic insect? How do insects survive Antarctic winters, and extreme conditions? In this episode, Tom chats with Nick Teets, Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky, to discuss the antarctic midge (belgica antarctica) and other cold-tolerant, extremophile insects. We discover the survival strategies employed by these bizarre, wingless flies; the creatures which make the antarctic midge look soft; and the implications for research into cold tolerance.
Carrion Beetles with Ash Whiffin
Death and rot! In this episode, we chat with Ash Whiffin, Assistant Curator of Entomology at National Museums Scotland about carrion beetles. Morbid insect or vital and valued decomposer? Both? We talk about the lives of carrion beetles, the animals they associate with, and the crimefighting role they play in forensic entomology. We also discuss Ash's new book 'The Histeridae, Sphaeritidae and Silphidae of Britain and Ireland' and consider how the field of entomology can be made more diverse and more inclusive.
Gardening and Invertebrates with Joel Ashton
Tom is joined by wildlife gardener Joel Ashton to think about invertebrates in relation to garden spaces. We talk about invertebrate habitats, the role of invertebrates within ecosystems, and consider what we can do to make our gardens more condusive to invertebrate life and therefore life more broadly. If you have no garden, fear not! There's something for you here. In this episode, the garden becomes a lense through which we can consider wider implications: our own relationship with wild spaces, the interconnectedness of life, and the relationship that exists between invertebrates and the landscape.
Living with Spiders with Tea Francis
What's it like to live with between 300 and 400 spiders? In this episode, we think about the relationships that exist between people and spiders, discovering what it's like to care for and value these creatures which are so contentious to the general public. Tom chats with Tea Francis, spider-person, spider-advocate, spider-keeper, to learn how to care for spiders, and to gain a fresh perspective on our eight-legged mates. We also explore the connection between spider care and counter-culture, look at the ethics of spider care, and consider the unpleasant instances when placing oneself in a position of care for a spider can be a misguided, ego-centric act.
Are Invertebrates Frightening? with Jeffrey Lockwood
In this episode, we take a critical look at the relationships which we have built with invertebrates. What is it that makes invertebrates frightening and disgusting to so many, yet completely fascinating to others? Tom is joined by Jeffrey Lockwood, author of 'The Infested Mind', to question whether fear of invertebrates is a cultural phenomenon, or something built into the human psyche. We examine the 'six great fears' that can be considered the root of entomophobia, discover the 'cookie test' and learn about the infestations that exist only in one's head. We consider our formative understanding of invertebrates in childhood, the counter-cultural role of invertebrates and the importance of developing a more informed, conscientuous view of creeping, crawling mates.
Finally, an Invert Podcast!
I am super stoked for this podcast about the coolest of animals (inverts, ofc) - it’s the perfect blend of informal and funny, versus thoughtful and informative. A great listen, especially while sorting and IDing inverts under a microscope :)