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If you like pagentry, ferocity and excellent eyesight then I have the spider for you (though personally, my eyesight is very poor). Tom is joined by Dr Sebastian Echeverri, arachnologist, science communicator and host of the BBC Earth podcast, to learn about jumping spiders. We explore all that makes the jumping spider special, including the aspects of Salticidae lifestyle which are curiously relatable. Plus, extensive discussion of what it means to care about invertebrates, and their relative obscurity within popular understanding despite their overwhelming presence within the animal kingdom. 
How many cockroaches are in YOUR house? Tom is joined by cockroach keeper, zoologist and science communicator Melinda Alexáné Babits to discuss cockroaches, and to discover what its like to immerse yourself in the cockroach world. What leads someone to a life in which the cockroach is a cherished thing, an animal whose company is valued, not just out of a scientific interest, but because they are interesting and exciting? What does it mean to care for cockroaches, and what makes the cockroach such a rewarding companion?Find Melinda and her cockroaches online:
Given that throughout history, writers have sought to make bee society into a reflection of our own, lets see how well that reflection holds up. In the episode, Tom is joined by Graham Duke and Ali Hood from Rex Factor, to see how well the queen bee holds up when held to the standards by which we have historically judged monarchs. Finally we can answer the question: does the Queen Bee have the Rex Factor?We look over some old natural history texts, examining the errors and misrepresentations made in giving an account of bee society, throughout previous centuries, and discover the moments in which honeybees have intersected with the bloody and scandalous history of the British monarchical line.
Come and literally grub in the filth, as we discover the earthworms. Tom chats with Anna de la Vega, founder of The Urban Worm, about the crucial work that our wriggling pals, the earthworms, perform within the soil. We discover the etymology of worm, examine their behaviour on rainy days, and discover the complexities of earthworms which are not often readily apparent. If you want to learn more about worm farming, or if you want to #wormup then you can go to for information and to apply for a 100g pack of tiger worms for your own worm farm.
Are wasps the anti-bee? Malicious, stripey villains who exist to make our lives worse? Unsurprisingly: no.  Tom is joined by Seirian Sumner, Professor of Behavioural Ecology at University College London and author of 'Endless Forms', who has made it her mission to repair the reputation of the wasp, and share what makes the Apocrita both interesting and vital.Join us to discover the imporance of wasps, as well as the architecture, social structures and eye-watering parasitoid lifestyles that can be found within this most diverse of insect groups.Seirian's book , Endless Forms, can be found here:
For too long, we've fawned over spiders and scorpions. Now, it's the harvestman's time to shine. Tom chats with arachnologist and BAS Harvestman Recording Scheme organiser Meg Skinner about harvestmen, one of the arachnids lesser-known orders. We discover what a harvestman is, how they live and the diversity that exists within the opilione order. Plus, we discuss the thrill of uncovering the lives of animals which are so often overlooked.
Anal propulsion and rectal throttling. In this episode, we get to both dive into, and soar through, the world of dragonflies. Tom chats with naturalist and dragonfly afficionado Neil Phillips about all things odonata. We discuss the adaptations that make dragonflies the natural world's most succesful predators, explore their lifecycle, and delve into the ancient world of the griffinflies, the dragonfly's ancient predecessor. We explore a little insect existentialism, thinking about the way we make sense of insect lives, and discover the beautiful poem 'Akatombo' or 'Red Dragonfly'. 
Lean over the edge of the dock, and peer beneath. What creatures have made their home here, on the artificial structures of the waters edge? Among the limpets and barnacles, a creature is gliding along, and it is this dazzling animal we've come to see. Tom chats with Luan Roberts about nudibranchs, and learns all about their lives, as well as about the broader world of dock fouling (rock pooling, but punk). Luan offers advice and guidance to those of us that find the process of engaging with the natural world challenging, as Tom shares the self-doubt and frustration he feels in facing the wild.
How best do we fly the flag for insects? Tom speaks with entomologist and writer Richard Jones about a life rife with insects, and about how best we advocate for them as creatures of value and wonder. We discuss Richard's books, natural history clubs, bug hunts and more, as we explore the ways that we can share and celebrate insects with the wider world. We also discuss Richard's new book, A Natural History of Insects in 100 Limericks, co-created with his son, promoting and celebrating the diversity of insects lives. 
How do we explore the beach? How do we make sense of it, and how do we teach children to appreciate and decode this space? In this episode, Tom chats with nature writer and award-winning blogger Heather Buttivant. As well as discussing Heather's new book, 'Beach Explorer', we chat about the beach as an environment, the invertebrates that live there and the challenges they face.
What strange lives are unfolding within the soil? It is an obscure world, rich with life that exists on a minute scale. Tom speaks with soil ecologist and macro photographer Frank Ashwood to discover the world of mesofauna: springtails, mites, symphylans and more. You can see the photos discussed in the episode here: taken from:
Oysters, mussels, scallops and more. When we pick up shells on the beach, how often do we consider that they represent a life lived, out in the ocean? The dynamic lives of these creatures are easily forgotten, obfuscated by the shell as a decorative object and the shellfish as a commodity. In this episode, we learn how these animals live, what they are, and what challenges they face. Tom speaks with ocean and climate scientist Priya Shukla, to discover the fascinating lives that hide behind that general label: ´shellfish´. 
Red with black spots. The  ladybird family, with the seven-spotted ladybird as its ambassador, is beloved. The ladybird is so often figured as a sort of simple, child-appropriate insect; what  is there to know about these domed beetles, beyond that sense of them we developed in childhood? Tom is joined by Dr. Helen Roy, ladybird expert, ecologist and President of the Royal Entomolgoical Society to delve into the complexities of the coccinellidae, whilst also considering the cultural heft of our dotted mates. wttfGQbE8IuVItXH93ec
What does it take it be the Antarctic's only endemic insect? How do insects survive Antarctic winters, and extreme conditions? In this episode, Tom chats with Nick Teets, Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky, to discuss the antarctic midge (belgica antarctica) and other cold-tolerant, extremophile insects. We discover the survival strategies employed by these bizarre, wingless flies; the creatures which make the antarctic midge look soft; and the implications for research into cold tolerance.
Death and rot! In this episode, we chat with Ash Whiffin, Assistant Curator of Entomology at National Museums Scotland about carrion beetles. Morbid insect or vital and valued decomposer? Both? We talk about the lives of carrion beetles, the animals they associate with, and the crimefighting role they play in forensic entomology. We also discuss Ash's new book 'The Histeridae, Sphaeritidae and Silphidae of Britain and Ireland' and consider how the field of entomology can be made more diverse and more inclusive. 
Tom is joined by wildlife gardener Joel Ashton to think about invertebrates in relation to garden spaces. We talk about invertebrate habitats, the role of invertebrates within ecosystems, and consider what we can do to make our gardens more condusive to invertebrate life and therefore life more broadly. If you have no garden, fear not! There's something for you here. In this episode, the garden becomes a lense through which we can consider wider implications: our own relationship with wild spaces, the interconnectedness of life, and the relationship that exists between invertebrates and the landscape.
What's it like to live with between 300 and 400 spiders? In this episode, we think about the relationships that exist between people and spiders, discovering what it's like to care for and value these creatures which are so contentious to the general public. Tom chats with Tea Francis, spider-person, spider-advocate, spider-keeper, to learn how to care for spiders, and to gain a fresh perspective on our eight-legged mates. We also explore the connection between spider care and counter-culture, look at the ethics of spider care, and consider the unpleasant instances when placing oneself in a position of care for a spider can be a misguided, ego-centric act.
In this episode, we take a critical look at the relationships which we have built with invertebrates. What is it that makes invertebrates frightening and disgusting to so many, yet completely fascinating to others? Tom is joined by Jeffrey Lockwood, author of 'The Infested Mind', to question whether fear of invertebrates is a cultural phenomenon, or something built into the human psyche. We examine the 'six great fears' that can be considered the root of entomophobia, discover the 'cookie test' and learn about the infestations that exist only in one's head. We consider our formative understanding of invertebrates in childhood, the counter-cultural role of invertebrates and the importance of developing a more informed, conscientuous view of creeping, crawling mates.
The woodlouse is an familiar, unobstrusive little creature - dull, grey and unassuming. What if we defy that expectation? In this episode we lift up a log, and enter the incredible world of the woodlouse. Tom chats with scientist Eleanor Drinkwater about her research in the field of woodlouse personality, as well as woodlouse diversity, the challenges faced by terrestial crustaceans and a great deal more. Come and hear about the bacteria which turns male woodlice female, about the woodlice that form pair bonds, and about the intuitive relationship that can percieved between woodlice and the Christian Trinity. 
Note the inverted commas, pincer-like, around the title. In this episode, we discuss 'crabs' - the various animals that end up under the 'crab' umbrella. Tom chats 'crabs' with Mark Losavio, diver, eduactor and marine biologist. We talk all things crab, and also discuss working in aquariums, teaching children about the ocean, and Mark shares his perspective on being a black man in marine science. 
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