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Queen Switcharoo

According to an old German proverb the animal that is the subject of this show was made by the devil. Dr. Biology gets a lesson about this devilish study subject from biologist Raghavendra Gadagkar. They talk about what he has learned from years of observing these misunderstood animals. There is even a surprise ending that we call the 'Queen Switcharoo'.  Spoiler alert – don't read the content log or transcript before listening to the beginning of this episode.

Portrait image by Souvik Mandal

Content Info | Transcript


MP3 download | 15MB

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Topic Time
Introduction - Spoiler Alert - don't Read below until you listen to the introduction. 00:00
How wasps are different than bees. 02:21
Social wasps and social bees. 02:57
Brain power of wasps, bees, and humans. 04:06
Difference between a queen and worker in a wasp colony. 05:50
Choosing a queen. 06:49
Can a queen be overthrown? [colony split] 08:38
Role of a queen in a bee and wasp colony. 09:47
How do we know colonies are run in a decentralized manner? 11:01
Roles in a colony. 13:19
Why are there few battles to become the queen? 14:38
Confidence building. 15:50
Science does not have all the answers. There is more still to be learned. 16:43
The armature, citizen scientist, and high school kid and science. 16:58
The joy of writing. 19:02
Paper wasp nests. 19:36
Nests used for living - for raising the young, not for storing food like bee hives. 20:35
Description of wasp nests. 21:09
One amazing thing about wasps. [The Queen Switcharoo] 22:15
Do experiments require a lot of money and equipment? 22:58
The use of video. 24:01
Three questions. When did you first know you wanted to be a biologist? 24:45
If you had to be something else, what would you be? 27:58
What advice would you have for someone wanting to be a biologist? 29:17
Sign-off. 30:35

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Queen Switcharoo

Audio editor: CJ Kazilek

Mystery animal tool

Our mystery animal is also a master builder that both makes and uses a material we all use each day.

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Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.

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Mystery animal tool

Our mystery animal is also a master builder that both makes and uses a material we all use each day.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.