Episode 23: Danger Bugs (ft. Nicole and Alicia)

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Cicada Killer -  Photo by Dendroica cerulea on Flickr
Cicada Killer - Photo by Dendroica cerulea on Flickr

Join Naturalists Nicole Brown and Alicia Oberg as they delve into the world of dangerous insects. They talk wasps, sure, but also butterflies and aphids. The now infamous "murder hornet" even gets a short appearance.

Insect Venom

If you're into the nerdy details of just what makes up insect venom (like Alicia) check out this handy chart below. Venom can be specialized to kill, incapacitate, or simply just to cause as much pain as possible. Fun!

Chemical Composition of Insect Venoms

Highlighted Insects:

There are many, many danger bugs in the world, but these are some of the ones highlighted in this episode. Aren't they gorgeous?

Velvet Ant - Scott Nelson (BugGuide)
Velvet Ant - Scott Nelson (BugGuide)
Saddleback Caterpillar - Katja Schulz (Flickr)
Saddleback Caterpillar - Katja Schulz (Flickr)
Cabbage Aphid
Cabbage Aphid

If you want to get nerdy, check out this scientific paper on Mocker Swallowtails by H. Frederik Nijhout (or at least check out the pretty pictures inside).


Female dark-morph tiger swallowtail on dotted gayfeather.

Check out the osmeterium (stinky organ that shoots out of their head when disturbed) on this tiiiny black swallowtail larva!