All Episodes

May 1, 2024 77 mins

To celebrate cicadageddon 2024, here's one of my favorite past episodes, this one on cicadapocalypse 2021: 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?” 

Guest: Mara Wilson




Cicada tymbal


Cicada sounds


Holes left by mass cicada emergence (warning for trypophobia)


Lots of cicadas!


Mass sea turtle hatching!


Giant river turtle!


Mass river turtle hatching!

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:06):
Welcome to Creature future production of iHeartRadio. 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 the thunderdome. 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 somethings 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 tiktoks about avocados and prepare ourselves for

brood X that has been waiting seventeen years to emerge
from the ground. What is brood X? Should we panic?
Must we accept brood X is our new leaders? And
how might we ingratiate ourselves to them? Discover this and
more to we answer to the age old question, how
is it fair that swarms of baby turtles are considered cute?

But swarms of bugs are considered quote horrifying. Joining me
today to discuss brood X and other mass spawning events
is author of the book Where Am I Now? Actress
and unofficial President of All Millennials.

Speaker 2 (01:25):
Mara Wilson. Welcome, Thank you so much for having me.
I'm very excited to talk about this brood X. It
sounds a lot scarier than it actually is, I think.

Speaker 1 (01:35):
Or is it. No, you're right, that's true. Yeah, it
sounds scary. It sounds like this is our come upance
as a specia 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
brood X is a mass cicada blue. First, I want

to ask you, mar how's your feelings towards cicadas.

Speaker 2 (02:04):
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 they 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 two thousand and 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'd ever heard cicadas.

Speaker 1 (02:28):
Yeah, yeah, I think we do get So I grew
up in San Diego, and I think we get some
cicadas there, yeah, but definitely we don't get the mass
burning events that happens on the East Coast.

Speaker 2 (02:41):
I think, like, maybe i'd heard them before, but I
didn't know what they were where, Whereas when I lived
on the East Coast, like I definitely i'd heard cicadas
and I knew what they sounded like, and I think, yeah,
I was.

Speaker 3 (02:53):
I was like visiting family on the East Coast in two.

Speaker 2 (02:56):
Thousand and four, and I was like, what's this weird
noise in the tree that seems to be everywhere? And
what are these like dead bodies littered on the ground.
So uh so yeah, so yeah, so I'm kind of
indifferent to them. I don't think that they're They're like
I 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, 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.

Speaker 1 (03:38):
Yeah, good, then you missed the Giant Snail episode that was.

Speaker 3 (03:42):
Yeah, I'm oh God, snails draws me out so much.

Speaker 2 (03:45):
I'm sorry, Katie, but I'm gonna have to skip that
episode because I think they're I think they're the grossest
things ever.

Speaker 1 (03:51):
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.

Speaker 3 (04:01):
Whoa, I mean that's that's you know, that's that's French.
That's it it is.

Speaker 2 (04:06):
Yeah, that's gourmet, very bask Yeah exactly, now I would.

Speaker 1 (04:11):
I can't eat I can't eat escargo. Maybe it's because
I like, as a kid, it's just like, you know what,
I've eaten enough snails. I'm good.

Speaker 2 (04:20):
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 and.

Speaker 1 (04:28):
Yeah, yeah, I don't know how I managed. The reason, uh,
I know I ate snails because I barely remember anything
from that age is that my mom said that I
would come, I'd go out in the yard and then
come back and I had like snailshell in my face. Oh,
I'm sorry, I'm sorry, Mark, I can't too.

Speaker 3 (04:47):
Yeah, I'm gagging.

Speaker 1 (04:51):
I don't I haven't done that in quite a while.

Speaker 3 (04:53):
I know, I know. But just the idea is.

Speaker 1 (04:56):
Is, yeah, well, that's that's your gross out of the episode.
Than Yeah, 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.
So yay, Yeah, I guess, like before we talk about
the mass s bonding, let's talk about like, what what
even is a cicada?

Speaker 3 (05:28):

Speaker 1 (05:28):
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. Yeah, and others that I guess are
wanna be bugs.

Speaker 2 (05:42):
I don't know, but is it 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.

Speaker 1 (05:54):
There's actually there there is, actually there is such a thing.
There is actually true bugs. Yeah, I mean taxonomy gets
very I 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 are like reef and fish and
then but a lot of things that aren't fish are

called fish, like jellyfish are not fish. They're nidarians. We're
actually going to talk about some more Nigerians at the
end of the episode, which will be very strange. But yeah,
so so cicadas true bugs. And they're actually related to
leaf hoppers, those cute little leaf shaped bugs that are
really good jumpers yea, 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.

Speaker 2 (06:45):
That's like one of the things that like blows. It's
like like if you ever want to blow like a
four year old's mind, you know, show them a picture
of a leaf hopper. Yes, 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,
seeing leaf hoppers and stick bugs and just losing my.

Speaker 3 (07:05):
Like what how does this exist?

Speaker 2 (07:07):

Speaker 3 (07:08):
How is this a thing? Yeah?

Speaker 1 (07:10):
It looks Yeah, they look like made up bugs that
someone like paper machade together.

Speaker 3 (07:16):

Speaker 1 (07:17):
It was like, yeah, I'm just gonna make a bug
that's a leaf.

Speaker 3 (07:20):
But I never would have thought they were related to cicadas.

Speaker 1 (07:22):
Yeah. Yeah, Like leaf hoppers 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 then there's leaf hoppers
where they still look like leaves but they're like kind
of folded up leaves where they have that triangular shape,
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 leaf hopper.
And cicadas are sort of like bigger versions of this,
except they don't they don't 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 zero point seventy 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.

Speaker 2 (08:29):
Yeah, I've seen them before and they are pretty big.

Speaker 3 (08:33):
The ones that I've seen were pretty big. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (08:35):
Yeah, like you don't want to get hit in the face,
like when you're when you're on your bike, just for example,
no reason.

Speaker 2 (08:43):
I mean, I haven't had that happen, but I have had.
What are the Jerusalem beatles or not Jerusalem?

Speaker 1 (08:48):
They're like, oh yeah, what are Erusalem crickets?

Speaker 3 (08:51):
What are It's not Jerusalem crickets? What am I thinking of?
They're like the big flying there's these big flying things
that are like big and lou they look like giant bees.

Speaker 1 (09:02):
Oh yeah, those are I.

Speaker 3 (09:04):
Don't know what they're called. We have them in southern California.

Speaker 1 (09:06):
I think they're June. Are you thinking about June June bugs.

Speaker 2 (09:09):
No, they're not June bugs because they're they're like they
like fooled in on themselves. They they like roll up
and they fly and they're like brightly colored and they
look like they're like some kind of flying beetle. And
but 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. 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 found a spider in my hair once and then
like I can't even remember it happening. But just last year,
I found a spider in my hair and I was like,
oh no.

Speaker 3 (09:45):
Not again.

Speaker 2 (09:46):
And I was like, wow, that's a weird thing to think.
I'm just croving my goth side like up spider. I
got a spider in my hair again.

Speaker 1 (09:51):
Oh no, yeah, oh gosh, yeah, I have I have
bad like luck with things getting in my hair too.
I was at well, I won't name the restaurant so
I won't get sued, but it's that a burger restaurant,
and I felt something land on 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 cock crouch.

Speaker 3 (10:15):
Oh god.

Speaker 1 (10:16):
Yeah. And I was like, waiter, there's a cock crouch.
Uh that fell on me? And he was just like, oh,
I'm sorry. I was like, you might you might want
to look into that, like check it out.

Speaker 3 (10:32):
I don't.

Speaker 1 (10:32):
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 yea that I hate,
like like emerging from your hair, because you're like, it.

Speaker 3 (10:45):
Wasn't emerging in my hair.

Speaker 2 (10:46):
I just and it was a tiny spider, but yeah,
the idea of it emerging from your hair feels like
a like a creepy urban legend.

Speaker 1 (10:53):
Right, yeah, exactly, like the oh oh what's that the
grudge you know? Yes, exactly, the fingers cut.

Speaker 3 (11:00):
The tiny spider. I looked at it. It might have been
a fig eater beetle.

Speaker 2 (11:03):
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. Get out of my
hair right now?

Speaker 1 (11:12):
Yes, yes, no, no, I've I've been smacked by it
by Yeah, those.

Speaker 3 (11:16):
Are annoying and they just they just it's just like,
you are so big, how can you fly?

Speaker 1 (11:23):
Yeah? Exactly. I mean like that's how I feel about
cicadas too. They look too eaty to fly, but they are.
They are lighter than they look, and they have big wings.
Even though like maybe getting smacked 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.

Speaker 3 (11:56):
It is good. If they were, we would all be screwed.

Speaker 1 (11:59):
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 hear
in the summer 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.

Speaker 2 (12:26):
It's kind of like a rising and falling sound, right
like do do.

Speaker 1 (12:34):
Yeah, yeah, yeah, it kind of sounds like a little
tiny buzz saw that like little little forest gnomes are
doing some serious high rises in the forests with the
little teeny tiny buzzsaws. But yeah, it gets very loud,
I mean gets as loud as a buzzsaw. Like it's
very very loud.

Speaker 3 (12:51):
Well, because there are thousands of them right.

Speaker 1 (12:54):
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 about almost as loud as a chainsaw. Wow. Yeah,
So crickets and other loud sound making bugs and other like,

there are lots of animals 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
ribbed body structure and kind of like play themselves like
one of those wood scraper instruments.

Speaker 3 (13:31):

Speaker 1 (13:32):
Remember in school when they made you sit in this
circle and you're like here, you get this wood block
that you d 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, yeacause like otherwise the situation would get
out of control.

Speaker 3 (13:51):
That was a privilege, Yeah, that was, yes.

Speaker 1 (13:53):
Definitely, because otherwise it was just like clin clan clan, cling,
clang and pandemonium. Yeah, like that 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 lame instrument that you get
and you don't really love it. But 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 they are actually different. They don't use stridulation.
They instead have specialized structures in their exoskeleton called timbals.
So timballs 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 that you shake to make it sound like
it's thunder.

Speaker 2 (14:54):
Oh yeah, yeah, I've seen that happen, like like I
was on I worked on I remember where 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.

Speaker 3 (15:12):
Of metal in the pool. Oh wow, and it's like
really scary echo.

Speaker 2 (15:16):

Speaker 3 (15:16):
I was always amazed by that.

Speaker 1 (15:18):
That's interesting. I didn't realize they actually put it in
submerged it like in water though.

Speaker 3 (15:23):
Oh it wasn't in water. It was an empty pool.

Speaker 1 (15:25):
Oh I see, so it would would like the resonance
of it. Yeah, that's cool.

Speaker 2 (15:31):
It was really cool. I you know, it was one
of those like oh that's how they do that kind
of thing.

Speaker 1 (15:35):
Yeah, yeah, that would be I feel like that would
be spooky though too. There's something about like big empty
rooms and then like loud sounds in them.

Speaker 3 (15:43):
It was very spooky.

Speaker 1 (15:44):
Yeah, yeah, it spooky. It's like the idea of like
going to a an abandoned theme park and then all
of a sudden, like the the carousel just starts up
and it's just music and an empty and then you're
like uh oh well, zombies aren't gonna come now.

Speaker 3 (15:57):
Yeah, exactly, exactly. You know, what have you done?

Speaker 1 (16:00):
Yeah? But yeah, so so that these timbals kind of
work like those big metal sheets and but they're there.
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
humming sound. Yeah, and uh, and I provided you with

lovely images of cicadas and like a little a little
animated textbook illustration. That shit, 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 in and out.

Speaker 2 (16:40):
I think I find it really interesting. Also, I love
that it's from a site called cicadamania dot com.

Speaker 1 (16:48):
Everybody has subscription. Everybody love Yeah, I'm actually subscribed to
Cicada bi weekly. But yeah, it's it looks and it's
interesting because it's it's kind of ribbed structure, looks mechanical,
it looks like a machine part. In fact, the whole
cicada looks very robot like today. It's 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 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, so don't worry. But

you know this, it's it sounds like construction work. Here
is what it sounds like.

Speaker 2 (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, yeah, there's like sort of a rise
and fall.

Speaker 1 (18:00):
Yeah, no, exactly. Yeah, it's like little again, little forest
gnomes on their massive hogs, just like reving around, yeah.

Speaker 2 (18:08):
Trying to get women's attention, which like was probably yeah,
I mean probably what a lot of.

Speaker 3 (18:13):
Dudes on motorcycles are trying to do.

Speaker 1 (18:15):
Yeah, you're right, you're right. Cecanas are very much like
like dudes on motorcycles going.

Speaker 2 (18:23):
Yeah, just making some noise. Yeah that's yeah, that's that's
what it seems like to me.

Speaker 1 (18:28):
Yeah. So, so fellas and ladies out there, if you're
trying to seduce someone. Uh yeah, just like make really
loud buzzing noises. I think it'll work. You've got the
creature feature guaranteed that that'll that'll get you some phone numbers.

Speaker 3 (18:43):
By a motorcycle it. It'll definitely attract some people, for sure.

Speaker 1 (18:46):
Or a buzzsaw, yeah, or.

Speaker 2 (18:48):
A buzzsaw well, yeah, if you just stand around with
a buzz said, I don't know, yeah, I do know
how many people that'll attract to you.

Speaker 1 (18:54):
But but very special people, Yes, it'll be. It'll be
a match made having once you find someone who appreciates
you do. Yeah, in a forest, maybe then it's like, oh,
you're a lumberjacket in the middle of it, in the
middle of the street. Maybe not.

Speaker 3 (19:11):
Yeah, I'm not gonna make not gonna make friends.

Speaker 1 (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

spring is very special because the periodical cicadas are having
their moment. So there are a few species of cicada
that have periodical bruits, 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

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.

Speaker 3 (20:32):
Oh so maybe so maybe I was born in a
cicada year.

Speaker 1 (20:35):
You could have been, Yeah, because I think.

Speaker 3 (20:37):
I turned seventeen the last time.

Speaker 2 (20:38):
Oh wow, So yeah, maybe so maybe you're cicada baby exactly.

Speaker 1 (20:46):
So, this group of emerging periodical cicadas this spring are
called broodex, which I love how menacing, Like I love
how scientists don't shy away from naming things like menacingly
do they don't.

Speaker 3 (21:00):
I mean, of course, you have to.

Speaker 1 (21:03):
Lean into it, you know. Yes, I love the book
lean In by a Cicada, And it's just like on
the cover, looking professional. So this group of emerging periodical
cicadas will emerge around May of this 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.

Speaker 2 (21:33):

Speaker 1 (21:33):
There'll be millions of cicadas coming out this spring, and
they will be extremely loud because they are looking 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 fingersnap, much louder, and that

is signaling to the male that 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 cicadas die
because that's that's it, like that that's their They've had
their big party and then they're like, well, I'm out here,

and then they die and that's why there's a bunch
of Mario were 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 molting. So it's
like they molt out of their various life stages. And
so if you find sort of a hollow sort of

kind of like amber colored, like it looks like sort
of a yeah casing.

Speaker 2 (22:45):
I remember what they look like because of the game
Niko at Sume the Cat collecton game. One of the cats,
like the cats will give you little treats and it'll
be stuff like a broken collar.

Speaker 3 (22:53):
It's the kind of stuff cats will bring you, like
like a a.

Speaker 2 (22:56):
You know, an old an old you know, a shoelace
or a broke half a mouse and yeah, exactly. And
and one of them is actually a cicada MOLTI oh
wow over cicada morting. And I remember I saw that.
When 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.

Speaker 1 (23:17):
Yeah, yeah, so they they they you need to connect
me with this game. Because I need to play any
game that makes a cicada reference.

Speaker 3 (23:24):
Yeah, it's the nico atsume. It's the cat collector game
for I love this. It's very cute.

Speaker 1 (23:29):
Yeah, I gotta, I gotta check it out. Yeah, this
episode is not sponsored by this, 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 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 casings, like
the molted cicadas, is sort of it'll be this like
kind of translucent amber color. And 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.

Speaker 3 (24:17):
So they they traveling.

Speaker 2 (24:19):
They don't travel in groups, but they like live in groups,
right yeah swarms, yeah, because they I remember hearing them altogether.

Speaker 1 (24:26):
Yes, yeah, I mean like 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.

Speaker 2 (24:46):
So yeah, because because I bet like females probably aren't
that discriminating when it comes to Yeah.

Speaker 1 (24:53):
They can't actually be because they have the they have
the luxury to be discriminating because they're so many males, right, 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 uh motor reving sound. Uh,
they'll invite the mail over with the wing flicks and

then they'll mate.

Speaker 2 (25:14):
So I just feel like, if you, if you do
your wing flick at like a group of guys, who's
gonna know how do they know who it is? No?

Speaker 3 (25:21):
Not you, that guy, that guy, No, that one, No,
that one over there, No, not you.

Speaker 1 (25:25):
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 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.

Speaker 2 (25:50):

Speaker 1 (25:50):
There, their auditory system actually also 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.

Speaker 2 (26:10):
I went to theater school and very familiar with resonators,
with using your vocal resonators and so so.

Speaker 1 (26:18):
Yes, but what now what you call me?

Speaker 2 (26:21):
Just let the the using, Yeah, using using the different parts. Yeah,
that's that's Resonance is something that you know, I admire
and other creatures.

Speaker 1 (26:32):
They're natural born actors, but they yeah, but especially.

Speaker 3 (26:37):
When they live and die on the stage. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (26:40):
Uh. And also with like how many of them are
trying to.

Speaker 3 (26:45):
Exact part Yeah, yeah, it's true.

Speaker 1 (26:49):
It's true when the female lays the eggs will actually
lay them in the branches of trees and then again
the adults kid was like, well, we had our big party,
now now we're out, and they die. And then when
the eggs hatch with this little teeny nymph like a
baby cicada, the nymphs will fall to the ground and

burrowed down a couple feet near the tree roots, near
the plant roots, and then they will wait another seventeen
years before they emerge again. Underground, they live off the
juices of the tree roots, which is called xylum. Basically,
like I said, they are tree vampires 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 hatching two adults where they
have the full wings and they're ready to party. So
they slowly develop 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. Yeah, 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, temperature's right out. We come.

And then it happens again and they actually leave a
bunch of holes in the ground, 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 ging Eto like his horror comics.

Speaker 3 (28:39):
No, I don't think I have, But I mean that
does sound creepy.

Speaker 1 (28:42):
There's a horror manga where it's like all these human
shaped holes in a cliff face and like people like
go inside and 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 I don't know why,
but that's the part that kind of creeps me out.
And it's not it's not tripephobia. I don't have that.

Speaker 3 (29:00):
That's the the hear of holes.

Speaker 1 (29:03):
Yeah, it's it's not really that. I think it's just
the knowing what they are. Like that's where like this
brood comes out from I don't know. Yeah, it gives
me the shivers.

Speaker 2 (29:14):
I mean, I feel like if you grew up in
southern California or or you know, anywhere in the Southwest,
you probably holes in.

Speaker 3 (29:22):
The ground mean snakes.

Speaker 2 (29:24):
So I always, you know, my dad would always say,
never put your your your hand or foot somewhere you
can't see.

Speaker 1 (29:30):
Yeah. No, that's a good point. Yeah, because 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. Yeah,
don't you.

Speaker 3 (29:42):
Yea, yeah, don't do that. That's I have.

Speaker 2 (29:45):
I have family that live in the desert and they're
just kind of like, well, the cat killed another scorpion today, Yeah,
And scorpions are so common to them, and I'm like,
I'm like, I'm like, that's a bit overwhelming for me.

Speaker 3 (29:56):
Scorpions are. I think they're fascinating and cool, but but
I'm I want them. I wouldn't want them to be
doing battle with my cats or me.

Speaker 1 (30:03):
Yeah, they're great parents. Scorpions are, but they I 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. Hooray.
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.
But it's scorpions. I got, like a pleinarian once. It's
like weird sort of warm thing. And I got the

you mentioned. I think it was a misnom where you
were talking about the fig beetles. But yeah, but Jerusalem
crickets are around here as well, so I got got
one of those those are creepy their faces, something about
I don't know, but yeah, so I got a bunch
of weird bugs, 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 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 they live
for a few years, and they have like annual mating cycles,
just typical stuff. The periodical brooding cicadas are interestingly different,
Like their whole name is based on 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 maygui or magi. I think it's magi, yeah, which
means to a great extent. So 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.

Speaker 3 (32:10):

Speaker 1 (32:10):
But the purpose of this huge brood emergence is probably
safety in numbers, right, there are so many of them.
As an individual cicada, you're statistically unlikely to be preyed
upon in such a huge mass of others, And it
makes mating easier because you just have one big meet
and Greek party with millions of sexy singles in your area.

Speaker 3 (32:34):

Speaker 2 (32:35):
It's what everybody everybody like, you know 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
much more going to be like you know, us, us slowly,
you know, climbing out of.

Speaker 3 (32:50):
Arcade where we've been hibernating.

Speaker 2 (32:52):
Yes, it's probably not going to be as fun and
sexy as the cicadas.

Speaker 3 (32:57):
You know what.

Speaker 1 (32:57):
I didn't make that connection until now, but you're absolutely right.
Now it's like a metaphor for emerging from quarantine. Yeah,
we're coming out of 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
of it. And we should definitely call like all the

babies that happens because of like after the quarantine, Yes,
one like mating, we should call them brute as.

Speaker 3 (33:25):
They should be brute as.

Speaker 2 (33:26):
Yes, that would be That would be a great and
and yeah, that would be a great, a great name
for them, I think, the babies.

Speaker 1 (33:33):
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 you're going to share a birthday with millions of cicadas. Yeah,
I have a bunch of cicada babies were born like well,
I guess not exactly, because they'll be conceived now, they'll
they'll there's gonna be like, n enough delay.

Speaker 2 (33:55):
Quarantine has been long enough that there are you know,
conceived in quarantine babies.

Speaker 1 (33:59):
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 the thunk
there might still be.

Speaker 2 (34:11):
There might still be in the next but yeah, but
probably it was. It was a bit too depressing.

Speaker 1 (34:16):
I think there's good. 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 had so like I imagine a lot of them are
going to be planned pregnancies 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. 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 a wonderful It's just
it's beautiful. It's it's like a poem.

Speaker 3 (34:54):
It's it's Yeah. They're synchronized, you know, much like the
cicadas themselves.

Speaker 1 (34:59):
Now synchronized with the cicadas. So we're just gonna slowly
become more and more cicada like, uh so going. Yeah.
Another proposed theory for why they have such a long
brooding cycle is that it makes it hard for predators
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 that and being
able to develop specific evolutionary traits to be able to
prey upon you is harder. Although some biologists 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 I still think that like, yeah,
obviously fungus like probably because it's under the ground and.

Speaker 3 (35:57):
Guy are terrifying.

Speaker 1 (35:59):
They are, yeah, they they there's no defeating fung guy,
Like that's the final boss. Like we'd like to We're like, oh,
no cicadas, no cicadas, we don't have to worry about them.
Fungi that's what we got to worry about. Yeah, that's
what's that's the zombie virus is not gonna be a virus.
It's gonna be a fungus.

Speaker 3 (36:15):
Yeah, like the most terrifying.

Speaker 2 (36:17):
Like I think about how I'll walk outside and I'll
see mushrooms pop up out of nowhere one morning, and
then the next day they'll be gone, and I'm.

Speaker 3 (36:26):
Like, how did you do that? How did you pop
up and then go away?

Speaker 2 (36:30):
How? It's it's I I do not understand them. I
have respect for them.

Speaker 1 (36:35):
Yeah, I'm not. I'm not a fung guy expert as
much as I wish I was, But yeah, they they
there's something about them that spooks me because they're not
they're not an animal, but they're not really a plant either. Yeah,
they're in that in between zone of spookiness and yeah,
so especially the parasitic fungus like cordyceps. Yeah, spooky because

that goes inside an ant's brain or other insects make
uh like takes over their brain makes some climb up
of tree brands and then sprouts spores like right out
of their brain. That's what the Last of Us that game,
the video game about zombie apocalypse like that that the
Last of the Space there zombie infection on the cordyceps.

Speaker 3 (37:21):
Oh really, Oh that makes sense.

Speaker 2 (37:22):
Yeah, I've heard about about the Last of Us, but
nobody has has told me that that that.

Speaker 3 (37:27):
Yeah, that sounds really cool.

Speaker 1 (37:28):
Yeah it is. I really loved that aspect of the game.
It's like the biological meshing sort of these biological facts. Yeah,
they're they're the science fiction.

Speaker 2 (37:38):
We we we kind of understand bacteria. We we kind
of understand viruses, but yeah, like fungi and like what
are they those things.

Speaker 3 (37:47):
Are those things are?

Speaker 2 (37:48):

Speaker 1 (37:49):
Those are the misfolded proteins that that just like, yeah,
causes a ruckets in your brain.

Speaker 3 (37:55):
They don't like that.

Speaker 1 (37:58):
But I do think, like, aside from from fun Guy,
which are not a fun guy get uh you know,
I think that that strategy of like if you lay
in wait for like seventeen years, yeah, like birds aren't
going to know what to do about you, Like their
live spans are typically not seventeen years. Long, so they're
not going to have any memory of these brooding events.

They're not going to know like when to come and
pray on you. So I think that maybe that is
part of the strategy. Interestingly, sometimes there are stragglers who
either come too early or too late to the big
brooding party. So it's not perfect. You know, nobody's perfect,
pobody's nerfect. And that applies to cicadas too.

Speaker 2 (38:39):
I feel like i've heard them before. I've heard like
like a soul. Yeah, yeah, I feel like we get that.
Like we used to get the they're not actually June bugs,
but we call them June bugs in yeah, in California,
and like once or twice we would get a June
bug that was late.

Speaker 3 (38:53):
My mom was like, oh sorry, dude, you're late.

Speaker 2 (38:56):
It's not June anymore. And yeah, kaidas eat here. Sometime
you'd hear like one and it was just like, oh,
that's so sad.

Speaker 1 (39:03):
Yeah yeah, it's like anybody is still out here. Yeah 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 sometimes there are enough of them that they actually
successfully mate like a group of them, and then they

can get off sinc 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 sync just a little bit,
they start like a different brood that will actually hatch
different years. So there are many different cicada broods, so

broodex is not the only one. There are cicada broods
that emerge every seventeen years. There are some that also
emerge every thirteen years, so slightly different species.

Speaker 3 (39:56):
Yeah, because I know.

Speaker 2 (39:56):
I've heard cicadas at times that weren't just that wasn't
just seventeen years ago.

Speaker 1 (40:01):
Yes, because well, first of all, there's the cicadas that
aren't periodical bruders. So they there are around every year,
and they 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 not it's not that this event only
happens every second seventeen years. This brood 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. Yeah, so we

see these mass brewed emergence events every few years, and
so it's yeah, so if you're like, uh, oh, I'm
gonna miss this mass brood 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. There's enough cicadas

for everyone, don't worry. Speaking of which, actually apparently I
read that cicadas tastes like canned asparagus really, which I
don't know what, like the the like Vinn diagram of
like people who have eaten cand asparagus and people who

have eaten cicadas. Who has both eaten cand asparagus yuck
and cicadas like, yeah, people have eaten both of them.
That they're like, oh, yeah, this is like the cand
asparagus that I eat like what.

Speaker 2 (41:38):
Yeah, I mean liking asparagus is like a very specific
thing anyway, Like I think asparagus is Okay, it's not
my favorite. My sister loves it and she cooks it
a lot, and you know, sometimes they'll eat it if
she cooks it.

Speaker 3 (41:49):
But but yeah, but I've never had it canned.

Speaker 2 (41:53):

Speaker 1 (41:53):
No, no, I I'm like you, like, I'll have like
roasted asparagus. I don't love it. It's a little too
fibrous for me. Yeah, also making your piecemeal weird, I'm
not Yeah, but like, but the but can't I couldn't
like eat it. Something about cannix asparagus just does not
peel to me at all. But then it's like, who's

eat Like I well, actually, you know what, I guess
it makes sense. The kind of person who would regularly
eat cand asparagus probably would eat a cicada just out
of curiosity.

Speaker 3 (42:22):
They're already eating eating weird stuff, so yeah, right, why not?

Speaker 1 (42:26):
Yeah, it's like, what, look, once you've stooped to the
level of eating canned asparagus, why not just try a cicada?

Speaker 3 (42:32):
I'm thinking, is it like army rations or something?

Speaker 2 (42:34):
Because or like survivalists because I do feel like, yeah, because.

Speaker 3 (42:39):
That seems like like the kind of people who would
do it.

Speaker 2 (42:40):
They'll be like, yeah, we eat bugs, We've also eaten
you know, these canned vegetables.

Speaker 1 (42:44):
Yeah, of course, like bugs are going to be the
meat of the future.

Speaker 2 (42:46):
Yeah, which I mean, like, yes, it grosses me out
to think about, Like I I it both I both
am like, oh, that's actually like a really good idea
to like make 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.

Speaker 3 (43:04):
But right, but also like the idea gross.

Speaker 1 (43:09):
No, I'm with you, Like I'm like, yeah, no, we
should be probably eating more insects that would be more
ecologically good for the planet. Ah but yeah gross icky No.

Speaker 3 (43:20):
Yeah, yeah, I'm like I.

Speaker 1 (43:22):
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 are they probably look at our
food like they'd probably look at like a Carl's Junior
like burger and be like, what the hell, Like, yeah.

Speaker 3 (43:38):
Exactly, No, it totally is cultural.

Speaker 2 (43:40):
And I feel like there's yeah and and people and
you can like survive pretty well off of that.

Speaker 1 (43:45):
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 wichety grubs,
which are these big like sort of you know how
on The Lion King there's a scene where they like
teach them to eat big grubs. It's they're huge grubs

and they just look not super appealing to eat. But
people have been eat like for centuries. Uh, people have
been eating the witchity 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,
I just it's it's totally cultural that we've we've been
brainwashed to reject insects as food. Yeah, but somehow be

okay with factory farming, which is a little messed up.

Speaker 3 (44:32):
Yeah, which is which is even grosser r.

Speaker 1 (44:34):
Right exactly, Yes, it's way gross I think.

Speaker 2 (44:36):
But 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, I
don't think I would like to eat a cricket if
it looked like a cricket. Yeah, it could, But I
also don't like to eat meat that looks like the
animal that it is.

Speaker 3 (44:51):
Like I feel like yeah, and I feel like for me,
that's a psychological thing, you know.

Speaker 1 (44:56):
I'm kind of the opposite. I almost like want to
know I'm just eating a buz glad.

Speaker 3 (45:00):

Speaker 1 (45:00):
I feel like if it's if you're like this cookie
was made out of ground up crickets, that's here, I've
roasted this cricket and it's like prepared it, and you know,
I'm like, Okay, at least this is being honest with me.

Speaker 3 (45:13):
That's true. I wouldn't want to be tricked into eating
it or anything.

Speaker 1 (45:16):
Yeah, 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.

Speaker 3 (45:27):

Speaker 1 (45:28):
I can't canned no or canned mushrooms too. I'd rather
eat a freshly prepared insect. Yeah. In terms of the Cicada,
the Cicada broodex, 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. No,

cicadas are harmless to humans. They don't sting or bite.
They are allowed, So if you live near where this happening,
you might have some tough nights, but you know, they're
not They don't hurt humans. They also don't hurt they
don't really hurt the trees or crops or anything. They're
not like locusts. They don't destroy crops. 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 is actually good for the trees.
I feel 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 probably just a neutral effect. On the trees.
But I have seen some arguments that it's actually beneficial,
so maybe. But either way, they're not harmful, So just

enjoy the big cicada party that happens only once every
seventeen years.

Speaker 2 (47:02):
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.

Speaker 1 (47:13):
Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2 (47:14):
Yeah, don't don't like, don't hate on them too much.
Just let them do their thing, you know. Yeah, like like,
you know, you can find them annoying, but they're just.

Speaker 1 (47:23):
You know, yeah, they might be cosplaying as vampires, but
it's exactly like tomato juice.

Speaker 2 (47:28):
So yeah, they just want to hook up at the
cast party. You know, they just want to hook up
at the cast party. So let them have their little
their party full of you know, massage trains and.

Speaker 1 (47:40):
And do you know, go back underground soon enough.

Speaker 2 (47:43):
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 what they are. Cicadas are
the theater kids.

Speaker 1 (47:53):
Yeah, I'm sure theater kids are going to be okay
with that comparison.

Speaker 3 (47:57):
Yeah, I'm okay with it. And I'm a theater kid.

Speaker 1 (48:00):
Yeah exactly. You're the president of theater kidd.

Speaker 3 (48:02):
Oh God.

Speaker 1 (48:13):
So we've talked about cicadas and their mass brooding events,
but they are not the only animal that does this.
Mar Are you familiar with sea turtle mass hatching events?

Speaker 3 (48:25):
No, I'm not, but please tell me because I love turtles.

Speaker 1 (48:28):
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's sea turtles are one such species who will
emerge by the thousands to lay their eggs at select beaches, like, uh,

there's a beach called O'steonal in Costa Rica, and they
seem to specific select particular beaches to all come and
lay their eggs on mass. And because they're all coming
at the same time to lay their eggs, that means
the eggs will all hatch around the same time as well.

Speaker 3 (49:13):

Speaker 1 (49:14):
And so when these eggs hatch, they'll come out because
like they bury them in the sand and they have
each one has a clutch of I think a couple
dozen eggs, and then they'll all come out at the
same time, and the hatchlings will instinctively go towards the ocean,

possibly guided by light reflecting off of the water. 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 turtles, even though there are so
many of them, actually surprisingly few will reach adulthood because
they're small and delicious, like little cinnamon buns, and so like,

there are lots of scabs and predators who wait for
these events. They know it'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,
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 out,
and then like a seagull's gonna immediately see you and
just snatch you up. So, yeah, these these mass turtle hatchings,

they happen all over the world, 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 watch them or like sometimes do that.

Speaker 3 (50:58):
Yeah, yeah, turtles.

Speaker 1 (50:59):
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 gonna make it so and you
can't you shouldn't interfere. Sometimes there are rescue groups that
will like h 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 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.

Speaker 2 (51:31):
Like, yeah, I like the little patterns that they leave
in the ground. Yeah, I'm looking at the little patterns
they leave, and it it does look like they're just
moving forward very very slowly, just pinching.

Speaker 3 (51:42):
It's very cute.

Speaker 1 (51:43):
I mean, they're hustling you can tell they're hustling as
fast as they can. Unfortunately that's just not very fast. Yeah,
but yeah, 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 dollar size things, and they yeah, it's but yeah,
you're right. The patterns they leave behind 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 Perus River
in the Amazon Rainforest, tens of thousands of baby array turtles,
also known as the giant South American river turtles will

hatch and make their way to the river. So similar
to the sea turtles, they are 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 gonna be just sitting
ducks or sitting eggs for anything to eat, So burying
them and the sand keeps them safe. And so once

they hatch, that is when the real trouble starts.

Speaker 3 (52:54):
So they say, giant, how giant, are they.

Speaker 1 (52:57):
Yeah, So as adults the babies are small, obviously cute
little babies, but as adults they get up to about
two hundred pounds or ninety kilograms in weight. Those are
the larger I think on average they don't reach that weight,
but like those are some of the larger individuals, and
their shells can grow to be over three feet longer
over one meters long. So I think typically they're a

little smaller, so more around like one hundred two hundred
and fifty pounds 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 they have
these little piggy noses, like little little piggy snouts. And
then they also often like algae will grow on their shells,

so I think they're really cool. Sometimes they get like
these mohawks of algae growing on them. They're they're really
interesting looking, very cool. And then the babies are adorable,
but they face a very unfortunate odds. So in a
protected area of the Peruse River, these turtles will hatch

en mass. So in twenty twenty, ninety thousand baby turtles
hatch just within a few days of each other. And
if you think that's going to look like a huge
pile of baby turtles, that is what it looks like.

Speaker 3 (54:15):

Speaker 1 (54:17):
Unfortunately, even though there's just so many of them, you'd
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.

Speaker 3 (54:42):
What are their predators, do you know? I mean there's
a lot.

Speaker 1 (54:45):
Of different Yeah, for the sea turtles, there are a
lot of like birds are a big one, but there
are 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 skin averaging birds that fresh water birds that
will pray for them. And then I'm pretty sure, uh,

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 otters I believe that live in
the area.

Speaker 2 (55:15):
Oh yeah, river otters are scary, Like I like, I
like otters, but river otters are scary.

Speaker 3 (55:20):
They're they're yeah, they're serious.

Speaker 1 (55:22):
They're serious. Like you you think of the cute little
sea otters. No, yeah, river otters are huge. They're like
almost as tall, like they're as an adult man, and
they they're long, they have huge teeth. They can take
on crocodiles. They can like literally take on on gators
and crocodiles and hold their own. So they're serious business.

But yeah, so 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. Yeah,
the Great Barrier Reef is home to the largest mass
spawning events in the world of coral. So, I know,
coral looks like a 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 a you know, they look like set dressing.

Speaker 2 (56:15):
Yeah, 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.

Speaker 1 (56:23):
It is to like, you know, diamonds skeleton gems.

Speaker 3 (56:26):
Yeah, exactly, and it was a very pretty ring. But yeah,
I think about it now and I'm like, oh, so
weird that that was alive once.

Speaker 1 (56:32):
Yes, yes, and so coral are very much alive. They
are Nigerians, which is the same philum as jellyfish and
seeing enemies. So yeah, they're actually related to jellyfish and
seeing enemies. They are often colonials, so that means they
form these huge groups of many individual polyps. So a

polyp is like just like one individual like you see
if you see a big branching thing of coral, chance,
are there like thousands of individual polyps or hundreds of
individual polyps like on this piece of coral. Yeah, so
a polyp generally speaking for coral is like a 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 will
come out of this. These corals and like, uh, you know,

use use their flowering organs to like catch prey 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 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 enemies or flowers.

Speaker 3 (58:15):
Is that this?

Speaker 2 (58:16):
Oh yeah, you have a picture of yellow ones and yeah,
they look like they look like those.

Speaker 3 (58:20):
Bottle brush tree you know. Yeah things. Yeah they look
like spiny but they look soft.

Speaker 1 (58:25):
Yes, yes they are. They are softer. They don't generally
have that like hard calcified skeletal structure. They're held together
by jelly like tissues and they but they also do
have some spiny structures that will support them.

Speaker 3 (58:40):
I was gonna say, do they feel soft to touch?

Speaker 1 (58:42):
Yeah, so part of them would feel soft to touch,
But the part of them that is the sort of
like base that's holding them together is going to be
a little more firm, sort of like spiny, like like
tree branches. Right, but yeah, like the definitely the polyps
themselves is going to be softer but hard. Coral is
to feel hard. So the stony coral 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 sort of like flowery looking than
soft corals. They're more a little more conical shaped, and
they give like these stony corals a sort of harder,

more rocky appearance.

Speaker 3 (59:30):

Speaker 1 (59:31):
And because often like these these polyps are very tiny,
only like one to three millimeters, you can barely see
each individual. It just looks like this rocky texture on
like this coral. It doesn't look like there's a bunch
of individuals. But if you zoom in, those little little
bumps are actually like living polyps. And if you ever

I have a visual eight formara here, you guys can
check out the show notes and and see pictures of this,
but I actually found because like I mentioned, I'm actually
at my parents' house right now and I found this
in the bathroom as a decoration. It's actually a 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 of little polyps.
And I'm gonna hold it up. Oh yeah, so you
can see each of these little like they look like
little holes or little divots. I don't know how much
detail you can get from the camera.

Speaker 3 (01:00:33):
It was like little stars on it, Like they're not
they're like little stars.

Speaker 1 (01:00:39):
Right, because that the little time like that was home
to 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 sea an enemy or like a jellyfish.
But it was like a little individ and of course

all that's left now is the hard calcified structure or
the skeleton. So if you have decorative coral, that is
a skeleton that you have basically, yeah, I think.

Speaker 2 (01:01:11):
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.

Speaker 1 (01:01:18):
Or like it's a common bathroom decoration, yeah, or like
like on on in like a little display on top
of the back, when we had like you had like
the TV cabinet.

Speaker 3 (01:01:29):
Yeah, I feel like we had we had like.

Speaker 2 (01:01:31):
We had like potpourrie on one part of it, and
we have but we had like pretty rocks and coral
on there too, yeah, or maybe like my grandparents had it. Yeah,
I feel like that was that was a very kind
of seventies eighties decoration exactly.

Speaker 1 (01:01:44):
Yeah. Yeah. And so it's it was kind of fun
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.

Speaker 3 (01:01:58):

Speaker 1 (01:01:58):
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 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 way of saying they're immobile. They
spend their whole time just kind of staying still, 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, and if these sperm and egg packets
just happen to bonk into each other, they will fertilize
and form an embryo. So in order to 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,
the chances are going to bunk into each other is
like pretty minimal if everyone's doing it. It's a blizzard
of sperm and egg packets, and the chance that you're

going to 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, like coral, as you know, are 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 a it's coral
sex junk happening.

Speaker 3 (01:03:54):

Speaker 2 (01:03:54):
There's a photo that I'm looking at here where there's
like there's like coral spawning and it looks it's like
like it's like really beautiful. You could put it up
as like a photograph like in your home as as
a decoration. 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?

Speaker 1 (01:04:14):
Y'es? Oh? Oh you guys, yeah, guys, just come on. Yeah, 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 goo. Yeah,
once they fertilize, says, we'll create new coral polyps. You

can actually look like there's an aerial photo too, like
that shows these 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 in the oation.
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 uh any coral just making babies.

Speaker 3 (01:05:02):
And how often does this happen?

Speaker 1 (01:05:03):
I think this is a yearly event. I'm not sure
if like every species does it every year, but they
like it's staggered enough that this happens relatively often. So
should we be worried about this? Not really? 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, which
actually happened nine years ago in a lagoon and an
atoll in the Cocos Island in the Indian Ocean, a
fluke storm blew a bunch of coral spawn into a
lagoon system, which consumed oxygen, and then the decaying coral

polyps released methane, which made the water unbreathable by the fish,
who suffocated and died on mass. So sometimes, hey, coral
sex does kill.

Speaker 3 (01:05:57):

Speaker 2 (01:05:59):
Yeah, that's like getting caught up in like somebody else's drama.

Speaker 3 (01:06:05):
Oh jeez, yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:06:06):
Yeah, yeah, someone like it shows you a text, like
between them and someone they're singing, and it's like they
expect you to resolve the drama. It's like, no, yeah,
I'm not going to be a fish in your coral right.

Speaker 3 (01:06:21):
That's a great way to tell them. Now, I'm not
fish in your coral sex lagoon. Okay, they'll know what
you mean you, they'll know, they'll know they should If
they don't, you don't want to be their friend.

Speaker 1 (01:06:30):
Anyway, exactly exactly. I mean, like if they're if they're
making you be a fish in their coral sex agon,
that's to get out of there. You got those toxic ties. Yeah. Well,
I think we've covered probably as many mass spawning events
as I can tolerate in one episode. But yeah, it's
it's a it's look, it's the beautiful cycle of life

which sometimes happens. And buy the millions. But before we go,
I do want to do a listener email that was
in response to last week's episode, which is about bunnies.
Mar you missed the bunnies, miss the bunnies by one
by one week, so instead you had the mass cicada
sex episode.

Speaker 2 (01:07:11):
I mean, it's it's still interesting to me and I
and I got turtles, which I like.

Speaker 3 (01:07:16):
So that's true. That's true too.

Speaker 1 (01:07:18):
Massive baby turtles. Yes, a lot of them are gonna die,
but hey, it's.

Speaker 3 (01:07:23):
But they're cute while they last. Yeah, it's it's an
ephemeral thing.

Speaker 1 (01:07:26):
Yeah, 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 the now.

Speaker 2 (01:07:35):
Yeah, it's it's like that those those you know what
are those like the mandalas that they'll make in sand?

Speaker 3 (01:07:39):
Yeah, think about think about the beautiful patterns that the
turtles making sand and.

Speaker 1 (01:07:43):
Yeah, and enjoy and yeah yeah, yeah that's that's you know,
so it goes, yeah, well, here is this very nice,
uh not deadly email. Hi Katie, I'm a longtime 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 a spade or neutered.
I think in the show I threw a little bit
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. Yeah, but apparently it's look Maya Kolpa. Apparently

bunnies will fairly readily poop in a litter box. That's
good to know.

Speaker 2 (01:08:34):
They seem very stubborn domestic. Every domestic bunny I've met
has has been like I have a mind of mind.

Speaker 3 (01:08:39):
Like people think cats are hard to control. Bunnies yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:08:42):
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 but like bunnies. Yeah, they're like, no, no,
you think you're gonna get me to do something? Uh
uh yeah, I'll kick you in the face and pee
on you. Yes, exact exactly. Although although the listener does

admit that there will be an occasional misplaced bunny poop,
so hey yeah, 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.
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 bodi's mid air,
which is called a binkie, And when they are very relaxed,
they will dramatically flop over on their side.

Speaker 3 (01:09:45):
Wow, so cute.

Speaker 1 (01:09:47):
I actually had a cat named Binkie 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 drop my
books on the floor and across the room. I didn't
realize the cat was there, and so he jumped like
a like three meters into the areas. It's so funny,

poor thing. And then then the listener 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 bee episode. I did my
master's degree studying native bees in Ontario, so I appreciate
it when bee species other than honey bees get a mention.

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 litterbox trained, but again, hey,
look when they want to, like if they there may
be a poop once in a while, You're just gonna
have to deal with it, right.

Speaker 3 (01:10:49):
Don't pretend like you can control the bunnies.

Speaker 1 (01:10:51):
No, you can't control a bunny.

Speaker 3 (01:10:52):
Control the bunnies no, no, they are.

Speaker 1 (01:10:56):
They are those strong back legs they can they can
slap you.

Speaker 3 (01:11:00):

Speaker 2 (01:11:02):
I have a friend who has bunnies, and she says
that they they when they're pissed off at you, they'll
turn their back on you and kick with their back legs.

Speaker 3 (01:11:09):
They'll kick you. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (01:11:10):
Yeah, which, which.

Speaker 3 (01:11:11):
I love you is is I love that about them.

Speaker 2 (01:11:13):
It's just like I love you bunnies for being for
being like they hey, screw you with their back legs.

Speaker 1 (01:11:18):
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
frightened rabbits. Yeah yeah, no, I mean it's more like
the Peter Rabbit level of like defiance.

Speaker 3 (01:11:33):
They Yeah. My sister was bitten by a bunny once oof.

Speaker 1 (01:11:37):

Speaker 3 (01:11:37):

Speaker 1 (01:11:38):
They got strong teeth, they do.

Speaker 3 (01:11:39):
Yeah. She said she had to get a Titanish shot
after oof.

Speaker 1 (01:11:42):
Yeah, because oh yeah, because their teeth are so long.

Speaker 3 (01:11:45):

Speaker 1 (01:11:46):

Speaker 3 (01:11:46):
She said the shot hurt more than the bite, but
it was still very very strange.

Speaker 1 (01:11:50):
But I mean, basically the bunny is responsible for the
shot too, exactly. Insult and injury to injury. Yeah, yeah, no,
bunny is a serious Like I know, bunnies 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 pets, Like
they're harder than a cat or a dog. Yeah, I

would say, so, yeah, 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 mail And I
think they like to flick urine, so they so he
would kick me and flick you on me. And I
was like, you know, I think I'll stick with cats

and dogs.

Speaker 2 (01:12:33):
Yeah, you can predict they're more productive.

Speaker 1 (01:12:38):
I only sometimes get kicked by my dog, and that's
usually on Yeah, my.

Speaker 2 (01:12:42):
Cat will will you know, they'll go away or maybe
they'll hit me or bite me lightly if I'm annoying them.

Speaker 3 (01:12:48):
Yeah, I'm like, okay, all right, we'll stop petting you.

Speaker 1 (01:12:52):
Yeah. Yeah. My dog loves belly rubs, but like once
it's like she's got a very specific. You have to
pet her very specifically, and if you stop, 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 pleasure to have you on. Big thank you, big
fan of you, big fan of your your Twitter and
and your articles, and so I am you know, trying
to keep the fangirling.

Speaker 3 (01:13:30):
To a minute.

Speaker 2 (01:13:32):
No, I mean, I I love your stuff, and I
feel like and I love learning about things that that
I don't know a lot about.

Speaker 3 (01:13:37):
So this is really cool to me. This is really fascinating.

Speaker 1 (01:13:40):
I'm so glad that you could learn about. And I'm
sorry about all the about all the coral perversion.

Speaker 2 (01:13:48):
It's it's fine, it's fine. I'll give them their space.
You know, I'm not gonna king shame them.

Speaker 1 (01:13:53):
I mean, if they if if you're like in a
lagoon and they foist their kink upon you in the
that's a yeah, but it is problematic.

Speaker 3 (01:14:02):
You were wandering into their space.

Speaker 1 (01:14:05):
Yes, but that was like that. I just there's like
a freak storm that dispensed all of this coral sexcw
on these poor fish. It's like it's like the like
a disaster movie, except a lot of corel coral eggs
and sperm. Attack of the killer coral, attack of the

killer coral coral baby's attack sounds like there might be
a plane, Yeah there is? Or is it a storm
of coral stuff?

Speaker 3 (01:14:37):
We've angered the coral. We've angered the coral guards. Gods.

Speaker 1 (01:14:41):
Yeah, now there's just gonna be a cyclone of like
coral sperm. Sorry.

Speaker 3 (01:14:46):
Yeah, oh well, well.

Speaker 1 (01:14:49):
Thank you again for coming on. Where can people find you?

Speaker 3 (01:14:51):
Thanks? They can find me at Mara Wilson on Instagram
and Twitter. I also have a cameo.

Speaker 2 (01:14:57):
I I do videos where I will talk about you
know anything, my cats or cookie recipes or cicadas what I.

Speaker 3 (01:15:06):
Know about Yeah, and those are really fun to make.
I have a newsletter at Mara.

Speaker 2 (01:15:11):
Dot substock dot com called chet We Tell the Vicar
because I come up with.

Speaker 3 (01:15:14):
Names for fake British TV shows. Nice them every time.

Speaker 1 (01:15:19):
I don't want to put you on the spot, but
can you can you?

Speaker 3 (01:15:22):
I can? I can?

Speaker 2 (01:15:23):
Yeah, I can there's uh, I'm just here to do
the hoovering. There's that one the mission quigly bubble and squeak.

Speaker 1 (01:15:33):
You know that's perfect.

Speaker 2 (01:15:35):
Yeah, it's uh, it's and and sometimes it's kind of
hard to tell which ones are real and which ones.

Speaker 1 (01:15:41):
Are Oh 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 real one. That's great
And you can find the show on the internet at
Creature Feature Pod on Instagram at Creature feet Pod on Twitter.
That's f e A T, not f e E T.
That is something very different. You can also send me
an email at Creature Featurepod at gmail dot com with

all your questions, bunny pictures, choral questions. If you have
a problem with cicadas making loud sex noises, just let
me know send me an email. Uh, And I'm Katie Golden.
You can find me at Katie Goolden on Twitter, where
I just post all my Katie thoughts and as always
I'm also pro bird rights or is pro bird rights?

Speaker 3 (01:16:24):

Speaker 1 (01:16:24):
Am I birds? We'll find out on Twitter. Thank you
so much for listening. If you enjoyed the show, and
you leave me your rating and review, I will read
it and it'll 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. Ex Alumina. Creature features a

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Hey Guess what. However, you listen to your favorite shows,
I don't judge, even if you're listening it in like
a choral sex lagoon. That's fine. Not here to judge you,
here to provide you with entertainment. See you next Wednesday.

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