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April 14, 2021 77 mins

BROOD X has been waiting 17 years to emerge from the ground. What is Brood X? Should we panic? Discover this and more as we answer the age old question: How is it fair that swarms of baby turtles are considered cute, but swarms of bugs are considered “horrifying,” with Mara Wilson. 


Footnotes:

  1. Cicada
  2. Cicada tymbal 
  3. Cicada sounds
  4. Holes left by mass cicada emergence (warning for trypophobia)
  5. Lots of cicadas!
  6. Mass sea turtle hatching! 
  7. Giant river turtle!
  8. Mass river turtle hatching!
  9. Soft coral
  10. Stony coral

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Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:06):
Welcome to Creature future production of I Heart Radio. I'm
your host of Many Parasites, Katie Golden. I studied psychology
and evolutionary biology, and today on the show brood X.
There's often generational battles, boomers complaining about millennials, gen X
complaining about zoomers, Zoomers duking it out with boomers in

(00:27):
the thunder dome. But perhaps as we have our petty
generational fights, we should stop to consider what's happening under
our feet. Something is stirring. In fact, millions of some
things are stirring. Rude X is about to emerge, and
we should put aside our petty squabbles about whether millennials
eat too many avocados or zoomers do too many TikTok's

(00:49):
about avocados and prepare ourselves for Browed X that has
been waiting seventeen years to emerge from the ground. What
is browed X? Should we panic? Must we accept brewed
X as our new leaders? And how might we ingratiate
ourselves to them? Discover this and more to be answered.
The angel question, how is it fair that swarms of

(01:10):
baby turtles are considered cute, but swarms of bugs are
considered quote qualifying. Joining me today to discuss brewed X
and other mass spawning events is author of the book
Where Am I Now? Actress? An unofficial President of All Millennials.
Maura Wilson, Welcome, Thank you so much for having me.
I'm very excited to talk about this brewed X. It

(01:32):
sounds a lot scarier than it actually is, I think,
or is it. No, you're right, yeah, it sounds scary.
It sounds like this is our come upance as a
and we're about to face the music, the very loud music.
But no, it is. It is actually very very interesting
thing in evolutionary biology. So this browed X is a

(01:57):
mass cicada blue. First, I want to ask you, Morow,
how's your feelings towards cicadas. You know, I don't think
they have them where I grew up, or at least
not in the ways that they do on the East Coast,
because I they so so seventeen years so they were,
because I do remember hearing about them when I was
a teenager. Yeah, so probably when I was That was

(02:19):
two thousand four, so I would have been sixteen or seventeen,
and I do remember spending my summer on the East Coast,
and I think that was the first time I've ever
heard cicadas. Yeah, yeah, I think we do get So
I grew up in San Diego, and I think we
get some cicadas there, but definitely we don't get the
mass branding events that happens on the East Coast. I think, like,

(02:42):
maybe i'd heard them before, but I didn't know what
they were. Whereas whereas when I lived on the East Coast,
like I definitely I had heard cicadas and and I
knew what they sounded like, and I think, yeah, I was.
I was like visiting family on the East Coast in
two thousand and four, and I was like, what's this
weird noise in the trees that seems to be everywhere?
And what are these like dead bodies littered on on

(03:04):
the ground. So so so yeah, so I'm kind of
indifferent to them. I don't think that they're They're like
I like the sounds of crickets chirping. I don't mind
the sounds of cicadas so much. It is a bit overwhelming,
and it is a bit gross when like their corpses
littered the streets. But again, I haven't had to deal
with that as much. So, so it's it's not you know,

(03:27):
it's not as much of an annoyance as like as
like coyotes are to me, or like or or like
snails or things like that where I'm like gross, you know.
But then you missed the Giant snail episode that Yeah,
oh god, snails dress me out so much. I'm sorry, Katie,
but I'm gonna have to skip that episode because I

(03:48):
think they're I think they're the grossest things ever. My
friend Bridget also she's been on the show, also disgusted
by snails. Yeah, so I won't tell you the story
about when I was a toddler. I used to just
eat garden snails. I mean that's that's you know, that's
that's French. That's it. Yeah, that's got Yeah exactly. Now

(04:10):
I wouldn't. I can't eat I can't eat scargo. Maybe
it's because I like as a kid, it's just like,
you know what, I've eaten enough snails good. Yeah, I've
heard it's also not very good unless it's prepared a
certain way. So it's like it's like one of those
things that turns out kind of rubbery and yeah, yeah,
I don't know how I managed. The reason, uh, I

(04:33):
know I ate snails because I barely remember anything from
that age is that my mom said that I would come,
I would go out in the yard and then come
back and I had like snail shell. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, Mark, Yeah,
I'm gagging. I don't I haven't done that in quite
a while, I know. But just the idea is is, yeah, well,

(04:59):
that's that's your gross out of the episode. Thank you
for I figured there would be one. So yeah, so
cicadas maybe not that gross, but maybe a little intimidating.
So this spring in the US, we are welcoming millions
of cicadas into the world in a mass hatching event.

(05:20):
So yeah, yeah, I guess, like before we talk about
the mass bonding, let's talk about like what what even
is a cicada? Right? They are a very loud bug.
They are a true bug. They're like we call a
lot of insects bugs, but there are just a few
species that are known as like true bugs and others

(05:41):
that I guess I want to be bugs. I don't know.
But it's like how there's no such thing as a
fish Like I always thought like bug was kind of
like a fake name that was just sort of grouping
a bunch of different creatures together. There's actually but there
is actually there is such a thing. There is actually
true bugs. So yeah, I mean taxonomy gets very I

(06:04):
don't know, there's a lot of gray areas. There's a
lot of like you know, like with you mentioned with fish,
there there are like rafein fish and then but a
lot of things that aren't fish are called fish, like
jellyfish are not fish. They're night arians. Um, We're actually
gonna talk about some more night arians at the end
of the episode, uh, which will be very strange. But yeah,

(06:26):
So so Cicada's true bugs. And they're actually related to leafhoppers,
those cute little leaf shaped bugs that are really good
jumpers and they come in really interesting shapes. So I
think we did an episode on leafhoppers before. But yeah,
they are very interesting bugs, very beautiful they are. That's
like one of the things that like blows. It's it's

(06:47):
like like if you ever want to blow like a
four year olds mind, you know, show them a picture
of a leafhopper. Because I remember like I remember being
in like preschool, in kindergarten and going to I don't
know if it was a nature preserve or what that
Seeing leafhoppers and stick bugs and just losing my like,
what how does this exist? How does this? How is

(07:08):
this a thing? Yeah? It looks yeah, they look like
made up bugs that someone like paper machade together. And
I was like, yeah, I'm just gonna make a bug
that's a lead. But I never would have thought they
were related to cicada's. Yeah. Yeah, Like leafhoppers have that
sort of triangular shape, so they're different. So there's there's
leaf bugs that have the sort of flat leaf, and

(07:30):
then there's leafhoppers where they still look like leaves, but
they're like kind of folded up leaves where they have
that triangular shape. Uh, and they're really good jumpers. If
you've ever like you may see something that looks like
a little leaf, but then it has like little legs
and then you try to pick it up and then
it just almost disappears by how quickly it can jump.
That's a leafhopper. And cicadas are sort of like bigger

(07:53):
versions of this, except they don't they don't uh typically
camouflage as leaves. They have wings in a thick triangular body.
There are many species of cicadas and They come in
a variety of colors, from black to brown to green.
There's even orange and blue hues. And they are fairly
decently sized. So the smaller species are about point seven

(08:18):
five inches or about two centimeters, and the largest species
can be over two and a fourth inches long or
five point seven centimeters, so you know big. Yeah, I've
seen them before and they are pretty big. The ones
that I've seen were pretty big. Yeah. Yeah, Like you
don't want to get hit in the face, like when

(08:38):
you're when you're on your bike, just for example, no reason.
I mean, I haven't had that happen, but I have had.
What are the Jerusalem beetles or not? They're like, oh yeah,
or what are the crickets? What are it's not your
recent crickets. What am I thinking of? They're like the
big flying there's these big flying things that are like

(08:59):
big and blue. They look like giant bees. Oh yeah,
those are I don't know what they're called. We have
them in southern California. I think they're Are you thinking
about june june bugs? No, they're not june bugs, because
they're they're like they like fooled in on themselves. They
like roll up and they fly and they're like brightly
colored and they look like they're like some kind of

(09:20):
flying beetle. And but I've I've gotten one in my
hair before. Oh yeah. I was like by my friend's
pool and one got caught in my hair. Uh. I've
also I've also found multiple spiders in my hair before,
which I think, which I think means or only one
at a time. But like, I've had a spider in
my hair once and then like I can't even remember

(09:41):
it happening. But just last year, I found a spider
in my hair and I was like, oh no, not again.
And I was like, wow, that's a weird thing to think.
I'm just proving my goth side. Like up spider. I
got a spider in my hair again? Oh no, yeah,
oh gosh, yeah, I have. I have bad like luck
with things getting in my hair too. I was at um,
well I won't name the restaurant so I won't get sued,
but a burger restaurant, and I felt something land on

(10:07):
my head and I was like, well, that's strange. And
I just sort of mindlessly reach up and pick it
up and it's a giant cockroach. Oh good. Yeah, And
I was like um waiter, there's a cockroach that fell
on me. And he was just like, oh, I'm sorry.
I was like, you might you might want to look

(10:29):
into that, like to check it out. I don't. I
generally don't mind bugs. Like if a spider gets on me,
there's an initial startle reflex. But it's something about it
being in the hair that I hate, like like emerging
from your hair, because you're like, it wasn't emerging in
my hair. I just and it was a tiny spider,
but yeah, the idea of it emerging from your hair

(10:50):
feels like a like a creepy urban legend, right, yeah, exactly,
like the oh what's that the grudge? You know, exactly,
the fingers. The tiny spider I looked at it might
have been a fig eater beetle, okay, yeah, because it
was big and iridescent and that getting caught in my hair.
I did mind that. I was like, you are too big.

(11:10):
Get out of my hair right now? Yes, yes, no, no,
I've I've I've been smacked by by and they just
they just it's just like you are so big, how
can you fly? Yeah? Exactly. I mean like that's how
I feel about cicadas too, They look to eaty to fly,
but they are. They are lighter than they look, and
they have big wings. Even though like maybe getting smacked

(11:34):
in the face or having them land in your hair
might be unpleasant, you don't really have anything to worry
about because they are vegetarian vampires. They will not suck
on human blood. They only suck on tree blood or
sap out of roots and tree twigs, so they thankfully
they are not out for human blood. That's good to know.

(11:57):
If they were, we would all be screwed. We would
definite Oh we'd be so dead. Uh So, the extremely
loud calls they make are due to their bodies basically
being designed like an instrument. So males sing to attract females.
So that loud, droning buzz you here in the summer

(12:18):
that can be ear splitting at times, is males going
come on and get some of this to all the
females trying to attract them. It's kind of like a
rising and falling sound, right like, dude, dude, yeah, yeah,
it kind of sounds like a little tiny buzz saw
that like little little forest gnomes are doing some serious

(12:42):
high rises in the forests with little teeny tiny buzz saws.
But yeah, it gets very loud. I mean it gets
as loud as a buzz saw. Like, it's very very
loud because there are thousands of them right well, even
a single one can produce a very loud call. And
then when you combine them it, yeah, it can be
deafening because one cicada can produce a sound that is

(13:06):
about almost as loud as a chainsaw. Yeah, so crickets
and other loud sound making bugs and another like there
there are lots of animals that that can make loud sounds.
Often use a technique called stridulation to produce their call.
That's where they rub their wings or legs over a

(13:26):
ribbed body structure and kind of like play themselves like
one of those wood scraper instruments. Remember in school when
they made you sit in the circle and you're like here,
you get this wood block that you did. You get
this like ribbed wood thing that you like scrape back
and forth. You get the triangle. And like they would
only entrust the triangle to the non annoying kids because

(13:47):
like otherwise the situation would get out of control. That
was a privilege that was, yeah, definitely, because otherwise it
was just like clink clink, clink, clink clang and pandemonium. Yeah,
like that wooden thing that has like the grooves in
it and you like rub the stick on it. It
makes that like noise and it's like kind of the

(14:08):
lame instrument that you get and you don't really love it.
But uh, that is how a lot of crickets, and
that's how other animals will produce that loud noise through stridulation.
But cicadas don't use this technique like that. They are
actually different. They don't use stridulation. They instead have specialized

(14:30):
structures in their exoskeleton called tim balls. So tim balls
are these membranes that are connected to muscles that can
vibrate them rapidly, producing a very loud sound. In fact,
cicadas are the loudest insect in the world. So it's
kind of like you know those like big metal sheets

(14:51):
that you shake to make it sound like it's thunder. Yeah, yeah,
I've seen that happen, Like like I was on I
worked on I remember we're on a movie once and
we we were on this this lot that used to
be like an air force base, I think, and there
was a pool in there and they made thunder sounds
by putting a giant sheet of metal in the pool,

(15:14):
and it's like really scary echo. Yeah. I was always
amazed by that. That's interesting. I didn't realize they actually
put it in submerged it like in water, though it
wasn't in water, it was an empty pool. Oh, I see,
So it would would like the resonance of it. Yeah,
the resonance would be very cool. It was really cool.
I you know, it was one of those like, oh
that's how they do that kind of thing. Yeah, yeah,

(15:36):
that would be I feel like that would be spooky
though too. There's something about like a big empty rooms
and then like loud sounds in them. It was very spooky. Yeah, yeah,
it's spooky. It's like the idea of like going to
a an abandoned theme park and then all like the
the carousel just starts up and it's just music and
an empty and then you're like, oh, well, zombies are

(15:57):
going to come now exactly exactly what have you done? Yeah?
But yeah, so so that these timbles kind of work
like those big metal sheets, uh, and but they're they're
they're smaller and they vibrate them much more quickly, and
so you get that I don't know if you'd call
it high pitched, but sort of medium pitched, like buzzing

(16:19):
humming sound. And uh, and I provided you with lovely
images of cicadas and like a little a little animated
textbook illustration that ship. I don't know how helpful. This
animation is all included in the show notes so everyone
can see it. But basically it's showing like, look, it's
this membrane and it goes it like sort of wobbles

(16:39):
in and out. I think I find it really interesting. Also,
I love that it's from a site called cicada mania
dot com. Everybody has subscription, everybody has their thing. I'm
I'm actually subscribed to Cicada bi weekly. But it looks
and it's interesting because it's it's kind of ribbed structure.

(17:00):
It looks mechanical. It looks like a machine part. In fact,
the whole cicada looks very robot like. It looks like
an alien machine, you know, kind of like a mixture
between organic and machine, which I find pretty cool. But yeah,
so that's how that that sound is produced. And just

(17:21):
just for fun, I will play a really loud cicada
I'll make sure it doesn't. It's not gonna blow out
your ears because I'm going to control the volume. Um,
so don't worry. But you know that this it's it
sounds like construction work. Here is what it sounds like.

(17:49):
It to me, it sounds almost like somebody revving up
a motorcycle engine. Yeah, because it kind of it kind
of goes like rude. Yeah, there's like sort of a
rise and fall. Yeah, no exactly. Yeah, it's like little again,
little forest gnomes on their math of hogs, just like
rubbing around trying to get women's attention, which like it

(18:10):
was probably yeah, I mean probably what a lot of
dudes on motorcycles are trying to do. Yeah, you're right,
you're right. So kadas are very much like like duds
on motorcycles. Yeah, just making some noise. Yeah, that's that's
that's yeah, that's that's what it seems like to me. Yeah. So,
so fellas and ladies out there, if you're trying to

(18:33):
seduce someone, uh yeah, just like make really loud buzzing noises.
I think it'll work. You've got the creature feature guarantee
that that'll that'll get you some phone numbers by a motorcycle,
it'll it'll definitely attract some people for sure. Or a
buzz saw yeah, or a bus well yeah, if you
just stand around with a buzz s I don't know. Yeah,
I don't know how many people that will attract to you.

(18:54):
But but very special people it'll be. It'll be a
match made in heaven. Once you find someone who appreciates
in a forest, maybe then it's like, oh, you're a
lumberjack in the middle of it, in the middle of
the street. Maybe not. Yeah, I'm not gonna make not gonnas.

(19:22):
So now we know what cicadas are, and so we
are ready to welcome millions and millions of new cicadas
into the world this spring. It's like, you know, spring
is always associated with cute little bunnies and cute little
baby chicks, but why not cute little cicadas. So the

(19:47):
spring is very special because the periodical cicadas are having
their moment. So there are a few species of cicada
that have periodical broots, so a mass brood that stays
in stasis underground, often for over a decade and will
emerge altogether in one big party. So right now in

(20:10):
eastern and central US, cicadas that have been resting and
developing underground for seventeen years will emerge fully grown and
ready to mate. So, if you're seventeen years old and
listening to this podcast, like, these cicadas are the same
age as you, They've just been your entire life, have
been waiting underground to emerge. Oh so maybe so maybe

(20:33):
I was born in a cicada year. You could have been, Yeah,
because I think I turned seventeen the last time. Yea,
so maybe your cicada baby. Exactly. So, this group of
emerging periodical cicadas the spring are called brood decks, which

(20:54):
I love how menacing, Like I love how scientists don't
shy away from naming things like menacingly they don't. I mean,
of course, you have to lean into it, you know.
I love the book lean In by a Cicada, and
it's just like the cover, looking professional. So this group
of emerging periodical cicadas will emerge around May of this

(21:16):
year in Delaware, Illinois, Georgia, Indiana, New York, Kentucky, Maryland,
North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Michigan, Washington,
d c So if you live in any of those places, congratulations.
There will be millions of cicadas coming out this spring,
and they will be extremely loud because they are looking

(21:39):
for mates. Basically, what happens is they'll pop out of
the ground, mate, lay their eggs, and then die in
a few weeks. So the males will make their characteristic
buzzes and the females will flick their wings which makes
us kind of like snapping sound like a finger snap,
much louder, and that is signaling to the male that

(21:59):
they are enticed by their revving sounds. And then they
go and mate, and then the female will lay the
eggs in the branches of trees, and shortly after that,
the adult ticada's die because that's that's it, like that,
that's there. They've had their big party and then they're like, well,
I'm out of here, and then they die. And that's

(22:21):
why there's a bunch of Maria. You're mentioning, you found
a bunch of cicada corpses. Yeah, now you'll also find
often like a bunch of uh they're not necessarily corpses,
but the final molding, so it's like they mold out
of their various life stages. And so if you find
sort of a hollow sort of kind of like amber colored,

(22:42):
like it looks like sort of a casing. I remember
what they look like because of the game nako at Sume,
the cat collecting game. One of the cats, Like the
cats will give you little treats and it'll be stuff
like a broken collar. It's the kind of stuff cats
will bring you, like like a a you know, an
old an old you know, a shoelace or a broke
half a mouse, and yeah, exactly. And and one of

(23:03):
them is actually cicada multi oh wowating and I remember
I saw that and I first saw it, like brought
back so many memories. I was like, oh my gosh,
I haven't seen one of these in years, but I
know exactly what it is. Yeah, yeah, so they they
you need to connect me with this game because I
need to play any game that makes a cicada reference. Yeah,

(23:24):
it's the Nicotsume, it's the cat Collector game for I
love this. It's very cute. Yeah, I gotta, I gotta
check it out. This episode is not sponsored by this
but but if you want to sponsor us, get at
me so you'll find both the cicada corpses, which you
can tell if they're they're the corpse because they are

(23:45):
actually they have the full wings and I think the
ones in the US are sort of blackish blue color
and then their wings are are lined in a bright
orange and so that's that's the adult form of the cicada,
whereas the casing, like the malten cicadas, it's sort of
it'll be this like kind of translucent amber color. And

(24:06):
the wings are clearly not fully developed on these because
in their earlier stages of formation, the wings are little
and they're not functional yet because they get bigger and
bigger with each molting. So they traveling. They don't traveling groups,
but they live in groups, right sworms, Yeah, because because
they remember hearing them altogether. Yes, Yeah, I mean, like

(24:27):
this is the this is sort of the entire point
of this mass emergence from the ground, is that they
emerge all at the same time, basically millions of them,
and then all mate at the same time, lay their
eggs at the same time, and then that'll start the
process again. So yeah, because because I bet like females

(24:48):
probably aren't that discriminating when it comes to Yeah, they
can actually be because they have the they have the
luxury to be discriminating because they're so many males. So
like they'll listen to these these calls and if they
like the song, like if it's it's like, yeah, that's
a that's a nice that's a nice motor revving sound. Uh,

(25:10):
they'll invite the mail over with the wing flicks and
then they'll mate. So I just feel like if if
you do your wing flick at like a group of guys,
who's gonna know how do they know who it is? You? No?
Not you? That guy? That guy know that one? No
that one over there, No not you. Yeah, that's a
really good question. I'm not sure. I would imagine it
may have something to do with timing, like they hear

(25:31):
a call and then they sort of do a wing
flick at them right after their call. But yeah, you're right,
like there must be some that's a really good question.
I wonder if there's any research onto like how they
are able to like directionally locate where the stuff is
coming from. I'm sure they probably have some a very
interesting auditory system there there. Their auditory system actually also

(25:53):
works as a resonance chamber, so it's like they they
have this very complex little machine apparatus. So I wouldn't
be surprised if they have some very complex way of
being able to differentiate the direction of sounds so that
that would make it easier. I mean, that's yeah, that's
a really good question. I went to theater school and
very familiar with resonators, with using your vocal resonators and

(26:17):
so so yes, what now what do you call me?
Just let the the using, Yeah, using, using the different parts. Yeah,
that's that's the residence is something that you know, I
admire other creatures. They're natural born actors, but they yeah,
but especially when they live and die on the stage. Yeah. Uh.

(26:41):
And also with like how many of them are trying
to exactly Yeah, yeah, it's true. It's true. When the
female lays the eggs will actually lay them in the
branches of trees. And then again the adults to Kato
was like, well, we had our big party, now now
we're out you and they die. Uh. And then the

(27:02):
when the large the the eggs hatch with this little
teeny nymph like a baby cicada. The nymphs will fall
to the ground and burrowed down a couple of feet
near the tree roots, near the plant roots, and then
they will wait another seventeen years before they emerge again. Um. Underground,

(27:23):
they live off the juices of the tree roots, which
is called xylem. Basically, like I said, they are tree
vampires um, and they take years to fully mature. So
they go through many stages of molting and transformations from
the nymph form, which is the young wingless stage after

(27:44):
hatching two adults where they have the full wings and
they're ready to party. Uh. So they slowly developed those
wings which with each molting and then once they've reached
their final stage of maturation, which is about at the
same time. Because again they were all the eggs were
laid at the same time, they all went underground at
the same time. They're all synchronized, which is incredible. Uh.

(28:07):
They will start to burrow upwards and they test the
temperature of the earth and once it is above about
sixty four degrees fahrenheit or eighteen degrees celsius, they're like, yep, temperatures,
right out we come. And then it happens again and
they actually leave a bunch of holes in the ground,

(28:28):
which for me, that's like the spookiest part it's not
seeing all the cicadas. It's like seeing the holes. Like
do you ever have you ever read a gingi eto, uh,
like his horror comics. No, I don't think I have.
But I mean that just sounds creepy. There's a horror
Mango where it's like all these human shaped holes in
a cliff face and like people like go inside and

(28:49):
just get sucked up. It's kind of it's just like
all these like little cicada holes. It's just it's a
little creepy. That's that. I don't know why, but that's
the part that kind of creeps me out. And it's
not it's not triple phobia. I don't have that, that's
the Yeah, it's it's not really that. I think. It's
just the knowing what they are. Like that's where like

(29:09):
this brood comes out from I don't know, gives me
the shivers. Um. I mean, I feel like if you
grew up in southern California or or you know, anywhere
in the Southwest, you probably holes in the ground means snakes.
So I always, you know, my dad would always say,
never put your your your hand or foot somewhere you
can't see. Yeah. No, that's a good point. Yeah, because

(29:32):
like I remember when I was a little kid and
I was like digging around in the dirt. I found
a hole. I was like, oh, I'll dig down in
this hole. Scorpion, scorpion, and don't you that. Yeah, don't
do that. That's why I have. I have family that
live in the desert and they're just kind of like, well,
the cat killed another scorpion today, and scorpions are so
common to them, and I'm like, I'm like, I'm like,

(29:54):
that's a bit overwhelming for me. Scorpions are. I think
they're fascinating and cool, but but I'm want them. I
wouldn't want them to be doing battle with my cats
or me. Yeah they're great parents. Scorpions are, but they
don't want them in my room. I've I'm like in
my parents house where I grew up, where actually I
am right now because I'm visiting my parents because the vaccine. Hey,

(30:16):
we're right next to sort of this arid canyon area.
And so for whatever reason that bugs loved my room.
Maybe they could sense a kindred spirit. But I would
get like scorpions would get in there, and it's like
it would only be my room for some reason, or
maybe I was the only one looking around for scorpions.

(30:36):
But it's scorpions. I got like a plenari in once.
It's like weird, a sort of warm thing. And I
got the you mentioned. I think it was a misnom
where you were talking about the fig beatles, but the
um but Jerusalem crickets are around here as well, So
I got got one of those. Those are creepy, uh

(30:58):
their faces something about I don't know, but yeah, so
so I got a bunch of weird bugs, including uh,
including scorpions, never a cicada though only heard them from
a distance. Speaking of bugs and them encroaching on us,
you may be asking, why do they do this mass
brooding event? Is it just to scare us? What's going

(31:19):
Is it an intimidation thing? Oh? God, why are they
doing this? So it's interesting because most cicada species aren't
like this. They don't lay in wait for seventeen years
and then emerge on mass like uh. They live for
a few years, and they have like annual mating cycles,
just typical stuff. The periodical brooding cicadas are interestingly different,

(31:43):
Like their whole name is based on this, this brooding
habit they're called magic cicada, which sounds like it's like
magic cicada, which is I love, But it actually comes
from the Latin may gui or magi. I think it's
magi um, yeah, which means to a great extent. So

(32:03):
it's basically saying like, there's a bunch of them, But
I also like to think that it's because they're magic,
just like magic cicada. Yeah. But the purpose of this
huge brood emergence is probably safety in numbers. There there
are so many of them. As an individual cicada, you're
statistically unlikely to be preyed upon in such a huge

(32:24):
mass of others. And it makes mating easier because you
just have one big meat and Greek party with millions
of sexy singles in your area. Exactly. It's it's what
everybody everybody like, you know, what what people be like,
you know, me and my homies. Once we get the vaccine, Yes,
of course, it's not going to be like that. It's

(32:44):
much more going to be like you know us slowly,
you know, climbing out of our cade where we've been hibernating. Yes,
it's it's probably not going to be as fun and
sexy as the cicadas, you know. But I didn't make
that connection until now. But you're absolutely right. It's like
a metaphor for emerging from quarantine. We're coming out of

(33:05):
our holes that we've been in for which feels like
seventeen years, but it's been over a year. And then
we'll probably have a mass meeting open and we should
definitely call like all the babies that happens because of
like after the quarantine one like mating, we should call
them brutex. They should be brute x. Yes, that would

(33:26):
be that would be a great and and yeah, that
would be a great, a great name for them, I
think babies. And they would share, they'll share. Oh and
oh my god, this is so perfect. It's like when
nature is just poetic because we're going to share a
birthday with millions of cicadas. Have a bunch of cicada
babies or like, well, I guess not exactly, because they'll

(33:49):
be conceived now, they'll they'll there's gonna be like quarantine
has been long enough that there are you know, conceived
in quarantine babies. That's true. That it's true. I thought
there wasn't like there was expected a baby boom, but
there wasn't because people didn't feel like having a child.
There then there might still be there might still be

(34:12):
in the next but yeah, but probably it was. It
was a bit too depressing. I think there's gonna I
think the celebratory we're out of quarantine baby boom is
gonna be much bigger. I mean also because I think
probably a lot of people wanted to have children and
then we're waiting until after quarantine, So like I imagine
a lot of them are going to be planned pregnancies

(34:32):
of like, hey, we're out of quarantine, now we can
start our families. Yeah, exactly, And so they're gonna be Yeah,
it's it's beautiful. You your babies are going to share
a special a special year with the millions of cicadas
that are also going to breathe this year. Yeah, Cicada
generation wonderful. It's just it's beautiful. It's it's like a poem.

(34:54):
It's it's yeah, it's they're synchronized, you know, much like
the cicadas themselves now synchronized with the cicadas. So we're
just gonna slowly become more and more cicada like. Uh so. Yeah.
Another proposed theory for why they have such a long
brooding cycle is that it makes it hard for predators

(35:16):
to adapt to your weird intervals. So like, if you
are only like you only emerge every seventeen years, evolutionarily,
it's kind of difficult for predators to have, Like they
don't have a lot of predators don't have a lifespan
of seventeen years, so matching up with with that and
being able to develop specific um evolutionary traits to be

(35:37):
able to prey upon you is harder. Although some biologist
disagree with this theory. They say, like, well, there's actually
a fungus that has developed that can specifically prey upon
these periodical cicadas, So obviously there's you know, but but
I still think that like, yeah, obviously fungus like probably
because it's under the ground and terrifying they are, Yeah,

(35:59):
they they there's no defeating fun guy, Like that's the
final boss. Honestly, like we we'd like to we're like, oh,
no cicadas, No cicadas. We don't have to worry about them,
fun guy, that's what we got to worry about. That's
what's that's that's the zombie virus is not gonna be
a virus is gonna be a fungus. Yeah, like the
most terrifying. Like I think about how I'll walk outside

(36:20):
and I'll see mushrooms pop up out of nowhere one
morning and then the next day they'll be gone, and
I'm like, how did you do that? How did you
pop up and then go away? How? It's it's I
I do not understand them. I have respect for them. Yeah,
I'm not. I'm not a fun guy expert as much
as I wish I was, But yeah, they they there's

(36:42):
something about room that spooks me because they're not they're
not an animal, but they're not really a plant either
or in that in between zone of spookiness. And yeah,
so especially the parasitic fungus like Court accepts. Yeah, spooky
because that goes inside and ant's brain or other insects
Mexico uh like takes over their brain, makes them climb

(37:06):
up a tree branch and then sprouts spores like right
out of their brain. That's what the last of us
that gave the video game about zombie apocalypse like that
that the last of the space there zombie infection on
the court as ups. Really that makes sense. Yeah, I've
heard about the last of us. But nobody has has
told me that that that. Yeah, that sounds really cool.

(37:28):
Yeah it is. I really loved that aspect of the game.
It's like the biological meshing sort of these biological facts
with their their the science fictions. I mean we we
we kind of understand bacteria, we we kind of understand viruses,
but yeah, like fun guy and like what are they?
Things are? Things? Are? Those are the misfolded proteins that

(37:52):
that just like, yeah, houses a ruckets in your brain.
They don't like that. Those are scary. But I do
think like, aside from fun Guy, which are uh not
a fun guy. Uh, you know, I think that that
strategy of like if you lay in wait for like
seventeen years, yeah, like birds aren't gonna know what to
do about you, Like, their lifespans are typically not seventeen

(38:14):
years long, so they're not going to have any memory
of these brooding events. Are not going to know like
when to come and pray on you. So I think
that maybe that is part of the strategy. Um. Interestingly,
sometimes there are stragglers who either come too early or
too late to the big brooding party. So it's not
not perfect, you know, Nobody's perfect. Poe Buddy's nerfect, and

(38:36):
that applies to Cicada's too. I feel like I've heard
them before. I've heard like like a strug. Yeah yeah,
I feel like we get that, like used to get
the they're not actually June bugs, but we call them
June bugs in in California, And like once or twice
we would get a June bug that was late. My
mom was like, oh, sorry, dude, you're late. It's not
June anymore. And and yes, Kada's eat here. Sometimes you'd

(39:00):
hear like one and it was just like, yeah, it's
like anybody is still out here. Yeah, uh yeah. But
what's interesting is if there's enough stragglers, because there's so
many of them, even if you're a straggler, the chance
that there's going to be another straggler is pretty high.
So uh, sometimes there are enough of them that they

(39:21):
actually successfully made like a group of them, and then
they can get off sink a little bit from the
rest of them, and that can actually start a new
brood that also they still have like the seventeen year cycle,
but because they're like off sinc just a little bit,
they start like a different brewd that will actually hatch

(39:42):
different years. So there are many different um cicada brewds,
so brute x is not the only one. There are
cicada brewds that emerge every seventeen years. There's some that
also emerge every thirteen years, so slightly different species. Yeah,
because I know I've heard cicadas at times that weren't
just that wasn't just seventeen years ago. Yes, because well,

(40:02):
first of all, there's the cicadas that aren't periodical brewders,
so they they are around every year UM, and they
don't do this behavior of waiting seventeen years. They have
like a yearly reproductive cycle. But you may be saying, like, well,
I've seen like mass emergence of cicadas and it hasn't
been seventeen years since I've seen it. And that's because
like they're they're on these different cycles. So this is

(40:25):
not it's not that this event only happens every seventeen years.
This brewed X is only gonna happen every seventeen years
because their population is on this schedule. But there are
gonna be other staggered populations of cicadas that are on
different schedules. So we see these mass brewed emergence events

(40:46):
every few years, and so it's yeah, so if you're like, oh,
I'm gonna miss this mass brewed emergence, don't panic. There
will be another one and you won't have to wait
seventeen years. But if you want to see this specific
brute event, yeah, will have to wait another seventeen years. Um.
There's enough cicadas for everyone, don't mari. Speaking of which, actually,

(41:09):
apparently I read that cicada's tastes like canned asparagus, which
I don't know what, like the like vin di diagram
of like people who have eaten canned asparagus and people
who have eaten cicadas. Who has both eaten canned asparagus

(41:30):
yuck and cicadas, Like people have eaten both of them.
That they're like, oh, yeah, this is like the can
asparagus that I eat, Like what, yeah, I mean, like
an asparagus is like a very specific thing anyway, Like
I think asparagus is Okay, It's not my favorite. My
sister loves and she cooks it a lot, and you know,
sometimes I'll eat it if she cooks it, but but yeah,

(41:50):
but I've never had it, can't And that sounds know. No,
I'm like you, like, I'll have like roasted asparus. I
don't love it. It's a little too fibrous for me. Yeah,
also making your pee smell weird. I'm not yeah, but like,
but but I couldn't like eating something about canics asparagus
just does not appeal to me at all. But then

(42:12):
it's like, who is eating Like, well, actually, you know what,
I guess it makes sense. The kind of person who
would regularly eat canned asparagus probably what eat is a
cana just out of curiosity. They already eating eating weird stuff,
so yeah, right, why not? Yeah, it's like what, look,
once you've stooped to the level of eating candid sparagus,
so why not just try I'm thinking, is it like

(42:33):
army rations or something? Because because or like survivalists, because
survivalist because that seems like like the kind of people
who would do it. They'll be like, yeah, we eat bugs,
We've also eaten you know, these can vegetables. Yeah, of
course bugs are going to be the meat of the future. Yeah,
which I mean, like, yes, it grosses me out to
think about, Like I I it both I both am like, oh,
this's actually like a really good idea to like make

(42:55):
cricket flower or something like that, because it's more readily
available and it's you know, probably eat safer and maybe
even than probably more humane than like factory farming and such.
But but also like the idea gross. No, I'm with you, Like,
I'm like, yeah, no, we should be probably eating more insects.
That would be more yeah, ecologically good for the planet.

(43:18):
Uh but yeah gross icky No, Yeah, I'm like I
I and I think it's entirely cultural. I don't think
there's any real logic to it. There are places where
people do eat insects and like it's totally normal and fine,
and they probably like, look there, they probably look at
our food like they probably look at like a Carl's Jr.
Like burger and be like what the hell? Yeah exactly,

(43:40):
And I feel like there's yeah, and and people, and
you can survive pretty well off of that. Yeah, but
there's a Yeah, there's a guy that was accidentally got
stranded I think somewhere in Australia, like in the desert
brush area, and he survived by eating witchety grubs, which
are these big like sort of you know how on
the Lion King there's a scene where they like teach

(44:02):
them about to eat big grubs. Is they're huge grubs
and they just look not super appealing to eat. But
people have been eating like for centuries. Uh, people have
been eating um, the witchty grubs as as a part
of like their diet, and they're they're perfectly good to eat.
And this guy survived by eating them. Uh And yeah,

(44:22):
I just it's it's totally cultural that we've we've been
brainwashed to reject insects as food, but somehow be okay
with factory farming, which is a little messed up. Yeah,
which is which is even grosser, right, yes, way gross.
I think like I don't like eating Like I I
eat meat. Sometimes I don't eat a lot of meat,
but like, but like when I do, like, I don't like,

(44:44):
I don't think I would like to eat a cricket
if it looked like a cricket, Yeah could, But I
also don't like to eat meat that looks like the
animal that it is. Like I I feel like, yeah,
and I feel like for me, that's a psychological thing,
you know, I'm kind of the opposite. I almost like
want to know I'm just eating a I feel like
if it's if you're like, this cookie was made out
of ground up crickets. I feel like here, I've roasted

(45:07):
this cricket and it's like prepared it, and you know,
I'm like, Okay, at least this is being honest with me.
What it's true. I wouldn't want to be tricked into
eating it or anything. Yeah, I think I would rather Also,
I think i'd rather eat a prepared bug than I
would to eat candasparagus. Absolutely, I'm not eating candasparagus. Yeah.

(45:28):
I can't canned know or canned mushrooms too. I'd rather
eat a freshly prepared insect um. In terms of the cicada,
the cicada brewdex, like, should we be concerned about this?
Like are you in imminent danger of having your face
covered in cicadas and then like you know, skeletonizing. You know, Uh,

(45:52):
cicadas are harmless to humans. They don't sting or bite.
They are allowed. So if you live near where this
is happening, you might have some tough nights. But uh,
you know they're not they they don't hurt humans. They
also don't hurt the Uh, they don't really hurt the
trees or crops or anything. They're not like locusts. They

(46:12):
don't destroy crops. Uh. They will suck the juice out
of tree twigs, which also doesn't really hurt the trees
that much. Like it seems actually to just kind of
like prune the trees. They don't really do lasting damage
to the trees. There are even some arguments with that.
Because they burst out these holes, it helps aerate the
soil and it's actually good for the trees. I feel

(46:34):
like it's probably a net neutral because they do suck
some of the juices out of the roots, and when
they lay their eggs, they actually like kind of cut
into the tree a little bit to like stuff the
eggs in, so they're secure there. So I think it's
it's probably just a neutral effect on the trees. Um
but I have seen some arguments that it's actually beneficial,

(46:55):
so so maybe. But either way, they're not harmful, So
just enjoy the big Cicada party that happens only once
every seventeen years. They're kind of the musical theater kids
of the insect world, which I mean I relate to
as a musical theater kid. They're they're really annoying, but
they're harmless. Yeah exactly. Yeah, don't don't like, don't hate

(47:17):
on them too much. Just let them do their thing,
you know, like like, you know, you can find them annoying,
but they're just you know, yeah, they might be costs
playing as vampires, but it's exactly like tomato juice. So
they just want to hook up at the cast party,
you know, they just want to hook up at the
cast party. So so let them have their little their
party full of you know, massage trains and and you

(47:40):
go back underground soon enough. Yeah, exactly, exactly. They'll they'll
grow out of it, you know, just as theater kids. Yeah,
kind of kind of grow out of the Yeah, that's
that's what they are. Cicadas with the theater kids. Yeah,
I'm sure theater kids are going to be okay with that. Yeah,
I'm okay with it, and I'm a theater kid. So exactly.

(48:01):
You're the president of Peter Kids. God am I I
might be. So we've talked about cicadas and their mass
brooding events, but they are not the only animal that
does this mare. Are you familiar with sea turtle mass

(48:24):
hatching events? No, I'm not, but please tell me because
I love turtles. Yes, So thousands of female sea turtles
have this uncanny ability to emerge from the ocean all
at once to lay their eggs at specific beaches. So
there are all of Ridley sea turtles are one such

(48:46):
species who will emerge by the thousands to lay their
eggs at select beaches, like UH there's a beach called
Osteon all in Costa Rica, and they seem to specific
thickly select particular beaches to all come and lay their
eggs on mass. And because they're all coming at the

(49:07):
same time to lay their eggs, that means the eggs
will all hatch around the same time as well. And
so when these eggs hatch, they'll come out because like
they bury them in the sand and they they have
each one has a clutch of UH I think a
couple of dozen eggs, and then they'll all come out

(49:28):
at the same time, and the hatchlings will instinctively go
towards the ocean UH possibly guided by light reflecting off
of the water. UH. Some of them like they'll come
out during night and like the moonlight reflecting off the
water seems to be a beacon for them. These UH turtles,
even though there are so many of them, actually surprisingly

(49:51):
few will reach adulthood because they're small and delicious, like
little like little cinnamon buns. Uh, and so like there
are lots of scab injers and predators who wait for
these events. They know what's happening, and these are very
tasty treats for them because they're so defenseless and there
they don't they can't move that quickly, so when they emerge,

(50:12):
they have this very dangerous trek to the ocean. And
so having this mass hatching event again gives you safety
in numbers like you are, you know, you may not
make it to the ocean, but like you're much have
a much better chance if you're one of like thousands
and thousands of individuals. Then if it's just you coming

(50:35):
out and then like a seagull is going to immediately
see you and just snatch you up. So yeah, these
these mass turtle hatchings, they happen all over the world. Um,
but like often these populations of sea turtles prefer specific beaches,
so they're often these events that that people wait for
these turtles to hatch and and watch them or like

(50:56):
sometimes yeah, yeah, it's it's quite something. I mean, the
babies are so cute. It's hard though, because like you know,
a lot of them aren't going to make it so
and you can't you shouldn't interfere. Sometimes there are rescue
groups that will like, uh kind of try to help
protect them from like poaching and stuff. So but yeah,
I mean it is. It is quite something though. So

(51:19):
you know, watching a video of just like thousands of
these turtles just like kind of like ambling because they
can't move very well. Uh, they just kind of like
use their little flippers to like kind of push themselves forward,
and it's just like, yeah, I like the little patterns
that they leave in the ground. I'm looking at the
little patterns they leave in it. It does look like
they're just moving forward, very very slowly, just finishing. It's

(51:43):
very cute. I mean they're hustling. You can tell they're
hustling as fast as they can. Unfortunately that's just not
very fast. But yeah, they they really they really try
to gun it to the ocean, but they can they
can only move so fast because they're these little tiny,
little tiny like sand dollars size things, and they Yeah,
it's but yeah, you're right, the patterns they leave behind

(52:04):
are quite beautiful. But you may have heard of these
sea turtle mass hatchings, but there are also mass river
turtle hatchings. Yeah, in the Amazon rainforest. So in Brazil,
on the Purus River in the Amazon Rainforest, tens of
thousands of baby array turtles, also known as the giant

(52:27):
South American river turtles will hatch and make their way
to the river. So, similar to the sea turtles, they're
buried in the sand, which keeps the eggs safe. Right,
So if you're wondering, well, why don't they just lay
them in the ocean or in the river, the eggs
are going to be just sitting ducks or sitting eggs
for anything to eat, So burying them in the sand

(52:48):
keeps them safe. Uh. And so once they hatch, that
is when the real trouble starts. So they say giant,
How how giant are they? Yeah? So as adults, the
babies are small, obviously cute little babies, but as adults
they get up to about two hundred pounds or weight.
Those are the larger I think on average they don't

(53:09):
reach that way, but like those are some of the
larger individuals, and their shells can grow to be over
three ft longer, over one ms long, So I think
typically they're a little smaller, so more around like a
hundred two hundred fifty pounds um and a little smaller shells,
but they can get quite big. They're also, I think
as adults, very cute. They have these long necks, and

(53:31):
they have these little piggy noses, like little little piggy snouts.
And then they also often like algae will grow on
their shells, so that I think they're really cool. Sometimes
they get like these mohawks of algae growing on them. Um,
They're they're really interesting looking, very cool. Uh. And then
the babies are adorable, but they face a very unfortunate odds.

(53:56):
So in a protected area of the Parus River, these
turtles will hatch on mass. So in nine thousand baby
turtles hatch just within a few days of each other.
And if you think that's gonna look like a huge
pile of baby turtles, that is what it looks like.
So unfortunately, even though there's just so many of them,

(54:19):
you think like, well, god, there must be like huge
numbers of these turtles. Unfortunately, only about one percent of
them will reach adulthood. So it truly is just a
law of large numbers. Like you want to make as
many babies as you can because their odds are so slim,
and you just want to make sure that some of
them will make it to adulthood. What are their what

(54:42):
are their predators? Do you know? Yeah, for the sea turtles,
there are a lot of like birds are a big one,
but they're also plenty of small sharks like in the
ocean that are really good predators. What about the river
ones and the river ones again, I mean, there are
a lot of avenging birds that freshwater birds that will

(55:03):
pray for them, and then um, I'm pretty sure. I
mean there are a lot of big fish in these
rivers that are would be happy enough to eat them.
There's also otters, river arters I believe that live in
the area. River otters are scary, like I like, I
like otters, but river otters are scary. They're they're they're serious,
they're serious like you do you think of the cute

(55:24):
little sea otters. No, river arters are huge. They're like
almost as tall, like as an adult man, and they
they're long, they have huge teeth. They can take on crocodiles.
They can like literally take on gators and crocodiles and
hold their own so they're serious business. But yeah, so

(55:45):
that that is perhaps one of the cutest mass spawnings.
But in terms of the biggest mass spawning, you have
to go to the Great Barrier Reef. Great Barrier Reef
is home to the largest mass spawning events in the
world of coral. So, I know, coral looks like a

(56:05):
plant or a rock, but they are living animals, which
is mind blowing. They just don't they don't look like
they should be alive. They look like, you know, they
look like set dressing. Yeah, my my grandmother had a
coral ring and it's weird to me now because I'm like,
that's almost like that's like closer to fur than it
is to like, you know, skeletons. Yeah, exactly, and it

(56:27):
was a very pretty ring. But I think about it
now and I'm like, oh, so weird that that was
alive once. Yes, yes, and so coral are very much alive.
They are nidarians, which is the same phylum as jellyfish
and see an enemies. So yeah, they're actually related to
jellyfish and see enemies. They are often colonials, so that

(56:48):
means they form these huge groups of many individual polyps.
So polyp is like just like one individual like you
see if you see a big branching thing of coral,
chances are there like thousands of individual polyps or hundreds
of individual polyps like on this piece of coral um.
So a polyp generally speaking for coral is like a

(57:11):
sort of oval structure. For some coral they look more
like sort of a long flower with a stem. Some
of them are more squat, some of them look sort
of like a flower bulb. Some of them look more
like pine cone shaped. But it's this is a living
it's got it's a living animal with like living tissue,
and it eats. They'll they'll filter feed and they like

(57:31):
will come out of this um. These corals and like, uh,
you know, use use their flowering organs to like catch
prey and and filter feed and just whatever is floating around.
So colonial polyps will often share sort of a base
either formed by fibrous proteins or calcified materials, uh, and

(57:53):
so that will form these big beautiful structures that you
see in the barrier reef. There are two main types
of coral. There are soft corals and stony corals. Soft
coral you may not even realize their coral because they
look they don't look hard. They are visibly soft. They
look sort of like a bunch of sea an enemy's

(58:14):
or flowers. Is that this? Oh yeah, you have a
picture of yellow ones and yeah, they look like they
look like those bottlebrush tree you know of things. Yeah,
they look like spiny, but they look soft. Yes, yes,
they they are. They are softer. They don't generally have
that like hard calcified skeletal structure. They're held together by

(58:35):
jelly like tissues and they but they also do have
some spiny structures that will support them. I was gonna say,
do they feel soft to touch? Yeah, so part of
them would feel soft to touch, but the part of
them that is the sort of like bass that's holding
them together is going to be a little more firm,
sort of like spiny, like like tree branches. But yeah,
like the definitely the polyps themselves is going to be softer,

(58:58):
but hard. Coral is and a feel hard, so that
the stony coral uh is the stuff that you probably
think of when you think of coral. They look like mineral,
more like a mineral than an animal. But they are alive.
So there are a bunch of tiny polyps on stony
coral skeletal structures, and like these polyps are, they're less

(59:20):
sort of like flowery looking than soft corals. They're more
a little more conical shaped, and they give like these
stony uh corals, a sort of harder, more rocky appearance. Uh.
And because often like these, these polyps are very tiny,
only like one to three millimeters, you can barely see

(59:40):
each individual just looks like this rocky texture on like
this coral doesn't look like there's a bunch of individuals.
But if you zoom in, those little little bumps are
actually like living polyps um. And if you ever I
have a visual aid for Mara here, you guys can
check out the show notes and and see pictures of this.
But I actually found because I, like I mentioned, I'm

(01:00:02):
actually at my my parents house right now, and I
found this in the bathroom as a decoration. It's actually
a um a coral skeleton. So this is uh the uh.
This is a stony coral, and this is the calcified
hard base of the skeleton that would home a bunch

(01:00:23):
of little polyps. And I'm going to hold it up
so you can see each of these little like they
look like little holes or little divid's. I don't know
how much detail you can get from the it has
like little stars on it, Like I'm not little stars right,
because that the little time like that was home to

(01:00:43):
each of these polyps that had this like radial sort
of branching structure. So each of those little like like
feathery kind of star structures is where that that little
polyp would have grown and have that like radial symmetry
like a c an enemy or like a jellyfish um.
But it was like a little indovid jewel. And of
course all that's left now is the hard calcified structure

(01:01:04):
or the skeleton. So if you have decorative coral um,
that is a skeleton that you have basically. Yeah, I
think we used to have. I like because when you
when I as soon as I saw that, I was like,
that looks familiar. And I feel like we might have
had that in my bathroom when we were little, or
like it's a common bathroom decade or like like on
in like a little display on top of the the back,

(01:01:25):
when we had like you had like the TV cabinet. Yeah,
I feel like we had we had like we had
like potpourri on one part of it, and we had
but we had like pretty rocks and coral on there too,
or maybe like my grandparents had it. Yeah, I feel
like that was that was a very kind of seventies
eighties decorations exactly. Yeah. Yeah, And so it was kind

(01:01:46):
of neat because I was like thinking about this episode
and like and I was just like, you know, doing
my business in the bathroom. We don't need to go
in detail there. But I saw this like on a
shelf and it's like, oh, hey, yeah, that's what I'm
talking about today. Yeah. Yeah. So, because corals are often
huge colonies with hundreds of thousands of individual polyps, and
the Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's largest

(01:02:08):
coral systems, with over six hundred distinct coral species. There
are millions and millions of individual polyps in the Great
Barrier Reef. By my rough calculation, when it is a
coral species time to spawn, it gets buck wild in
the ocean. So coral are sessile, which is just a

(01:02:30):
way of saying their immobile. They spend their whole time
just kind of staying still. Uh, you know, just like
we've been on quarantine, we've been sessile. On our couches,
and so having sex is a problem because how do
you have sex and reproduce when you can't really move.
So they will release sperm and egg packets into the water,

(01:02:51):
and once if these sperm and egg packets just happen
to bonk into each other, they will fertilize and form
an embryo. So in order to match maximize the chance
of successful fertilization, they have to synchronize because like if
you just like send out your egg or your sperm
packet and then it's like nobody else is doing it,
maybe one person like way far away is doing it,

(01:03:13):
the chances are going to bonk into each other, it's
like pretty minimal. If everyone's doing it. It's a blizzard
of sperm and egg packets, and the chance that you're
gonna bunk into something and get it fertilized is very high.
And so that's what they do. It's this blizzard of
coral sperm and eggs, and it's super colorful, so uh

(01:03:33):
like coral, very pretty, very colorful, and so you wouldn't
even guess that it's such a such dirty business going
on here because it comes in these colors of like
yellows and pinks. Uh, and it's like this flurry. Uh.
It looks like a magical enchanted blizzard. But you know
that's ah, it's coral sex junk happen. Yeah, there's a

(01:03:54):
photo that that I'm looking at here where there's like
there's like coral spawning and it looks like like it's
like really beautiful. You could put it up as like
a photograph like in your home as ascoration. And then
there's another one and there's a diver in the middle
of it and he looks a little like, Okay, what
did I get in the middle of here? Oh? Goh

(01:04:16):
you guys. Gross, guys, just come one. Yeah. It's like
it's like a snow globe, Like you turn in the
snow globe and you see all these like big sort
of like things of snow, except like it's pink and
yellow and it's you know, coral sex gou Once they fertilized,
this will create new coral polyps. You can actually look

(01:04:36):
like there's an aerial photo too, like that shows these
um like mass coral embryos that creates like this pink
film on the ocean and look like someone just like
spilled a bunch of pink ink. It's beautiful. Uh, it's
just but it also like shows you the scale of
this event. It's just huge, huge number of who any

(01:05:00):
coral just making babies? And how often does this happen?
I think this is a yearly event. I'm not sure
if like every species does it every year, but they
they like that's staggered enough that this happens relatively often. So,
uh should we be worried about this? Uh? Not really,

(01:05:21):
I mean unless you are a fish in a lagoon
during an unfortunately timed weather storm that causes coral sex
goop to rain down in your home and literally suffocate you.
But actually happened nine years ago in a lagoon in
an atoll in the Cocoas Island in the Indian Ocean.
A fluke storm blew a bunch of coral spawn into

(01:05:41):
a lagoon system, which consumed oxygen, and then the decaying
coral uh polyps released methane, which made the water unbreathable
by the fish, who suffocated and died on mass. So sometimes, hey,
coral sex does kill. Yeah, it's that's like getting caught
up in like somebody else's drama. Oh jeez. Yeah, So

(01:06:08):
like it shows you a text like between them and
someone they're seeing, and it's like they expect you to
resolve the drama. It's like, no, I'm not going to
be a fish in your coral right. It's a great
way to tell them now I'm fishing your coral sex lagoon. Okay,
don't know what you mean, You don't don't know they should.

(01:06:29):
If they don't, you don't want to be their friend anyway, right,
exactly exactly. I mean like if they're if they're making
you be a fish and they're coral sex again, that's
to get out of there. Got those toxic ties. Well,
I think we've covered probably as many mass spawning events
as I can tolerate in one episode. Um, but yeah,
it's it's a it's like it's the beautiful cycle of

(01:06:52):
life which sometimes happens in by the millions. But before
we go, I do want to do a listener email
that was in response to the last week's episode, which
is about bunnies. Mark, you missed the bunnies by one
by one week, so instead you had the mass cicada
sex episode. I I mean, it's it's still interesting to me.

(01:07:13):
And I got turtles, which I like so that's true.
That's true too massive baby turtles. A lot of them
are gonna die. But hey, it's but they're cute while
they last. Yeah, it's it's an ephemeral thing. Yeah, you know, Yeah,
enjoy enjoy the turtles every moment. Don't think about the
turtles of the future. Think about the baby turtles of

(01:07:34):
the now. Yeah, it's it's like the those those you know,
what are those like the mandala's that they'll make in sand? Yeah,
think about think about the beautiful patterns that the turtles
making sand and shark and yeah, yeah, yeah, that's that's
you know, so it goes. Yeah, well, here is this
very nice, not deadly email. Hi Katie. I'm a longtime

(01:07:56):
listener and I really enjoyed your lagomorph episode. I am
a bunny owner and an ecologist and really appreciated the
love you give to these underappreciated fluff balls. I just
wanted to tell you a few cool things that I've
learned about pet domestic rabbits. First, they can be letterbox
trained fairly easily and successfully, especially if they're spade or newter.
I think in the show I threw a little bit

(01:08:17):
of shade at bunnies. I said that you can try
to litter box train them, but I think it's sort
of on whether they want, whether they feel like it
or not. But apparently it's uh like maya copa. Apparently
bunnies will fairly readily poop in a litter box. They
seem very stubborn domestic. Every domestic bunny I've met has

(01:08:38):
has been like, I have a mind of mind. Like
people think cats are hard to control. Bunnies, yeah, yeah,
oh but yeah, but it's a whole new like cats
are sort of like a little bit, but they're they're
coy and playful about it, where they're like, oh maybe
will I won't I, But they do. They do love
you and they like bunnies. They're like, no, no, you
think you're going to get me to do something, I'll

(01:08:58):
kick you in the face and pee on you. Exact
happen to me exactly. Although all the listener does admit
that there will be an occasional misplaced bunny poop, so
hey um. She writes that the secret is to put
hay in or next to the litter box so they
can eat while they poop or pete Luxury luxurious living

(01:09:21):
um once litter trained, the bunnies can roam in an
area of the house freely after some bunny proofing. The
House Rabbit Society has lots of information on how to
do this. I also just wanted to mention a few
other super cute bunny behaviors. When they are very excited,
bunnies will do a jump and a shake their bodies midair,
which is called a binky. And when they are very relaxed,

(01:09:42):
they will dramatically flop over on their side. Wow, that
so cute. I actually had a cat named Binky, and
he was He was pretty rabbit like because he was
very scared. He never killed anything and would run away.
And one time, this is in high school, and I
came home and I was, you know, frustrated with school,
so I dropped my books on the floor and across
the room. I didn't realize the cat was there, and

(01:10:04):
so he jumped like a like three meters into the areas.
It's so funny, poor thing. Um. And then then the
listeners shared some beautiful pictures of the bunnies which are
just for me. So sorry about that. But oh and
then and then she writes, I also especially appreciated your
b episode I did my master's degree studying native bees

(01:10:25):
in Ontario, so I appreciate it when b species other
than honey bees get to mention. Uh, and this is
from Emma. Thank you so much, Emma for your kind
words and for your bunny facts. So I take it back.
Bunnies can be litter box trained, but again, hey, look
when they want to, like if they there may be
a poop once in a while, and you're just gonna

(01:10:45):
have to deal with it, right. Don't pretend like you
can control the bunnies. No, you can't control a bunny.
You can't control the bunnies. No, No, they are they're
the strong back legs. They can they can slap you. Yeah. My,
I have a friend who has bunnies, and she says
that they they when they're piste off at you, they'll

(01:11:06):
turn their back on you and kick with their back legs.
They'll kick, yes that you, Yeah, which which I love
you is. I love that about them. It's just like
I love you bunnies for for being for being like
the hey, screw you with your back legs. Yeah, I mean,
I like that they stand up for themselves because like
we have the sense of like, oh, they're just a
little floppy bunnies. They don't. They're helpless rabbits. Yeah, yeah, no,

(01:11:29):
I mean it's more like the Peter Rabbit level of
like defiance. They Yeah, my sister was bitten by a
bunny once. Yeah. Yeah, they got strong teeth, they do. Yeah.
She said she had to get a technis shot after Yeah,
because oh yeah, because their teeth are so long. Yeah. Wow.
She said the shot hurt more than the bite, but
it was still very very strange. But I mean basically

(01:11:51):
the bunny is responsible for the shot too, exactly. Insult
and injury to injury. Yeah, yeah, no, bunny is a
serious but no, Like, I know, buddies are cute. I
don't necessarily discourage having bunnies as a pet, but if
you want one, definitely look into it, because I would
say they are one of the harder pet Like they're
harder than a cat or a dog. I would say, so, yeah,

(01:12:14):
just just check it out because because there's a lot
of special care you have to do. Uh My, I
had a friend who had a bunny and again, like
I would pet it and then when it wanted me
to stop, it would kick me and pee on me
like it was a male, and I think they like
to flick your in so so he would kick me
in flick your on me, And I was like, you know,
I think I'll stick with cats and dogs. Yeah, you

(01:12:36):
can predict they're they're more predictive. I only sometimes get
kicked by my dog, and that's usually honest. Yeah, my
my cat will will you know, they'll go or maybe
they'll hit me or bite me. Lately, if I'm annoying them,
I'm like, okay, all right, we'll stop petting you. Yeah,
my my dog loves belly rubs. But like once, it's
like she's got a very specific you have to pet

(01:12:57):
her very specifically, and if you stopped like she she
looks so sweet and angelic. But then if you pet
her wrong, like suddenly the little Chihuahua demon face comes
into play and it's oh my god, She's like, it's
really funny. Satan takes over. Yeah. Well, Mara, thank you
so so much for joining me. It's truly been a

(01:13:20):
pleasure to have you on. Big thank you, big fan
of you, big fan of your your Twitter and your articles,
and so I am you know, trying to keep the
fan girling to a minute. No, I mean I love
your stuff, and I feel like and I love learning
about things that that I don't know a lot about.
So this is really cool to me. This is really fascinating.
I'm so glad that you could learn about. And I'm

(01:13:42):
sorry about all the about all the coral perversion. It's
it's fine, it's fine. I'll give them their space. You know,
I'm not going to kink shame them. I mean if
they if if you're like in a lagoon and they
foist their kink upon you in the look, that's all bloma.
It's problematic. You were wandering into their space. Yes, but

(01:14:06):
that was like that. I just there's like a freak
storm that dispensed all of this coral sex goo on
these poor fish. It's like it's like the like a
disaster movie, except a lot of core coral eggs and sperm.
Attack of the killer coral, attack of the killer coral

(01:14:27):
coral babies attack. Sounds like there might be a plane,
Yeah there is? Or is it a storm of coral stuff.
We've angered the coral We angered the corals. Yeah, now
there's just gonna be a cyclone of like coral sperm. Sorry. Yeah, Well, well,

(01:14:49):
thank you again for coming on where can people find you? Thanks?
They can find me at Marra Wilson on Instagram and Twitter.
I also have a cameo. I I do videos where
I will talk about you know anything, my cats or
cookie recipes or cicadas and what I know. Yeah, and
those are really fun to make. I have a newsletter

(01:15:10):
at Mara dot subs dot dot com called We Tell
the Vicar because I come up with names for fake
British TV shows them every time. I don't want to
put you on the spot, but can you can you?
I can? I can? Yeah, I can. There's I'm just
here to do the hoovering. There's that one the mission
quigly bubble and squeak. Uh you know that's perfect. Yeah,

(01:15:36):
it's it's and and and sometimes it's kind of hard
to tell which ones are real and which ones are Yeah, no,
I would believe it. If it's like like I'm just
here to do the hoovering, I would totally think it
was one the real one. That's great, And you can
find the show on the internet at Creature feature Pot
on Instagram, at Creature feet Pot on Twitter. That's f
e a T not teeth is something very different. You

(01:15:59):
can also send me an email at Creature feature Pod
at gmail dot com with all your questions, bunny pictures,
choral questions. If you have a problem with Cicada's making
loud sex noises, just let me know send me an email.
Uh and I'm Katie Golden. You can find me at
Katie Golden on Twitter, where I just post all my
Katie thoughts um and as always I'm also pro bored

(01:16:21):
rights um or as pro bird writes me and my
birds will find out on Twitter. Thank you so much
for listening. If you enjoyed the show and you leave
me a rating and review, I will read it and
it will make my day. I'll be floating on Cloud
nine all day long when you leave nice reviews. I
really appreciate them. And thanks to the Space Classics for
their super awesome song Exo Lumina. Creature features a production

(01:16:45):
of I Heart Radio. For more podcasts like the one
you just heard, visit her radio app app podcast or
Hey guess what you listen to your favorite shows. I
don't judge even if you're listening it in like a
coral sex lagoon. That's fine. I'm not here to judge.
You just here to provide you with entertainment. See you
next Wednesday, m

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