Montana Public Radio

Arts & Culture

Author interviews, food, natural history, poetry, and more from "The Write Question", "The Food Guys", "Field Notes", "Home Ground Radio", "Front Row Center", and "Reflections West".

Bug Bytes: Spittlebugs

Jun 12, 2020
A spittlebug nymph and adults.
Missoula Insectarium

You’re in your garden or maybe out for a walk in the woods … and you come across what looks like a fresh loogie someone just spit onto a plant. Gross!

Relax. A fellow human likely did not leave behind the white, foamy goop. It’s the telltale sign of a spittlebug.

Bug Bytes: Carnivorous Caterpillars

Jun 12, 2020
A non-carnivorous horned spanworm moth caterpillar.
Glenn Marangelo

With nearly 180,000 species of moths and butterflies in the world, it goes without saying that their larval stage of development – caterpillars – are equally abundant. And of all the different types of caterpillars in the world, inchworms are perhaps the best-known group.

Inchworms are species of moths in the family geometridae. Most of us have seen cute little inchworms inching along a branch or dangling from the tree canopy on a strand of silk. Their bodies tend to be green, brown or tan in color, helping these small caterpillars blend into their surroundings. With soft, almost gummy-like bodies, they’re seen as gentle vegetarians that have been the focus of many children’s books and stories.

That is, except for the ferocious gang of inchworms found in Hawaii.

Bug Bytes: The Human Botfly

Jun 12, 2020
Glenn Marangelo

You’ve taken a remarkable trip to Central or South America. You saw incredible species of birds and mammals, and of course were “wowed” by the amazing insects you discovered. You return with life-long memories, beautiful photos and some souvenirs. But unfortunately some travelers return with an unexpected stowaway...the human botfly.

Bug Bytes: Golden Buprestid

Jun 12, 2020
Glenn Marangelo

Forged in fire. Whether it’s glass or metal, many artists rely on heat and fire to make their craft. Then it should come as no surprise that a family of incredibly beautiful beetles also has a relationship with fire.

Metallic wood-boring beetles are commonly called “jewel beetles” because of their iridescent colors. And the golden buprestid is perhaps one of the shiniest examples. While primarily a bedazzled metallic green color, they also sport blue and purple highlights with a coppery-orange edge to their wing covers. They look more like a piece of insect art.

Bug Bytes: Dogbane Tiger Moths And Bats

Jun 12, 2020
A cycnia tenera moth, commonly known as a dogbane tiger moth.
Glenn Marangelo

On summer evenings, when darkness falls and most winged predators have called it quits for the day, bats awaken from their daytime slumber to rule the skies.

Despite darkness, thanks to their ability to echolocate – creating ultrasonic clicks and listening to the echoes that return – bats can create detailed images of their surroundings…including whatever tasty insects might be in their flight path.

Well, most insects, that is. Certain species of tiger moths have developed an effective way to avoid becoming a bat’s next meal. And perhaps none have been studied more than the dogbane tiger moth.

Bug Bytes: Dung Beetles To The Rescue

Jun 12, 2020
An introduced dung beetle in Australia. While the species is native to Africa, they are now widespread in northern Australia.

Insects play critical roles in our lives. Pollination, decomposition and soil aeration are just a few. And they do this behind the scenes, without much recognition or thanks.

So this episode is dedicated to a large group of unsung insect heroes…the dung beetles.

Bug Bytes: Jumping Spiders

Jun 12, 2020
A phidippus johnsoni, more commonly known as a Johnson jumping spider.
Glenn Marangelo

Of all the different kinds of insects and arthropods we encounter, on average, people tend to be most afraid of spiders. But with their big eyes and fuzzy little bodies, jumping spiders are the cute puppy dogs of the spider world.

Shonda Buchanan can tell a story like no other. Her writing pulls at the thread of truth with deep compassion, grace, and humor. In this conversation, she shares what it means to be Black Indian both within intimate family relations as well as in the broader cultural and historical contexts. Her work is prescient and her voice is disarming: “This is our country and we have a right to stay. We have a right to be here and we have a right to fight. . . For me, writing is fighting.”

Graphic reading 'what's yours story'

Montana Public Radio will host StoryCorps for 4 weeks to record the stories of local residents and preserve them in the Library of Congress

As of June 10, all the slots have been filled, but you can still get on the waiting list in case of cancellations.

There are also two self-serve options available to participate in. Neither are facilitated but the recordings can still end up at the Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The StoryCorps App it is available for free on your phone and is a perfect way to record if the people being interviewed are in the same location. StoryCorps Connect uses the same virtual platform as StoryCorps, and allows people to interview each other from different locations via the internet.

Joe Anderson, co-founder of Reflex Protect
courtesy of Joe Anderson

In July 1993, a gunman opened fire at the San Francisco law firm of Pettit & Martin, killing eight people and wounding six more. Several of the casualties were friends and former colleagues of Joe Anderson, who'd worked at the firm. Joe is an entertainment attorney, a fourth-generation Montanan from Shelby, and a serial entrepreneur. After the shooting, an enduring question haunted him: “Is there a reliable way to stop violence without being violent?”