Fig Wasp Story

Fig Wasp Story


In nature, interactions among organisms
take many forms, and can have either positive or negative effects on the individuals involved. Competition is a type of interaction where
both individuals are negatively impacted because they are fighting for the same resource,
such as habitat or nutrients. Predation is a form of competition in which
one individual benefits while the other is harmed. The predator feeds and the prey… well, it
dies, when the predator is successful. Parasitism is a specialized form of predation,
where a larger organism is the host of a much smaller and sinister tenant. Parasites thrive
at the expense of the host. They have quicker They have quicker generation times and are
specialists, so most live their entire lives within a host. Mutualism is a relationship where both organisms
benefit from each other. Plants often recruit insects, to participate in a contract that
provides food in exchange for pollination. However, mutualism may share many characteristics
with parasitism, as is the case of obligate mutualism. Here,
instead of one thriving at the expense of the other neither can survive or reproduce without the
other. This is the definitive case of the fig tree
and the fig wasp. The fig is not a fruit, but a hollow garden
of flowers. A female fig wasp has laid her eggs and pollinated the flowers, which have
now reached maturity. The fig is a nursery, it has cared for the
future wasps by protecting them within its galls. The male wasps mature early. Wingless and
almost blind, they are the first to emerge from their galls. Then their essential ritual
begins, as he mates while the female is still in her gall, ensuring she has everything she
needs to produce eggs when she reaches maturity. Soon thereafter the females emerge. They look
very different, with antennae and large eyes, powerful wings
and a long ovipositor. They are not built to be enclosed, they are
meant to be free. They don’t have much time, for the fruit ripens
as soon as the galls are empty. Male wasps cut stamens and offer the pollen
to the females, which they take as a parting gift. Finally, the males proceed to dig a tunnel
to set the females free. They briefly witness the light of day in their
dying moments, while the females fly towards their quest
for another fig. The fig left behind rapidly ripens, which
attracts animals that will eat them and disperse their seeds.
This is the legacy of the wasp; she provides the pollination that completes the fig`s reproduction. Female wasps have very short lives and to
cope with this and the risk of missing out on pollination, fig trees randomly fruit throughout the year. And so the pollen-laden wasp reaches an immature
fig. But her journey is far from over; ahead lies the greatest challenge of her brief
life. Clawing and squeezing her way through the
gate her wings and antennae are ripped from her.
She makes the ultimate sacrifice, as the final push to enter bursts her abdomen. In an epic struggle between sacrifice and
survival, the mother wasp crawls through the narrow labyrinth towards the inner chamber. She is wounded
and weak, carrying only her eggs and the pollen gift of the former fig. If the wasp fails to pollinate the flowers,
no seeds will ever develop. Fig fruits with no future are costly to the tree, so they
will not receive an inflow of nutrients. If the wasp does not pollinate, the entire
fig may be aborted. However, if she devotes herself to pollination
as well as laying eggs, she ensures the fig will hold the promise of seeds. The tree will
pump sugars and nutrients into the fig, securing the future of seeds and larvae alike. When
they mature and leave, the fig will ripen, thus completing the cycle of mutual benefit
that has existed for millions of years. After so much effort, she finally reaches
the nursery to complete her mission. The pollen she carries will ensure the fig remains, and
so will her developing offspring. Struggling, she lays her eggs with her ovipositor
into receptive flowers. Finally, she unpacks her gift of pollen and
fertilizes the fig. After perpetuating the relationship, she lays
down in her grave of flowers. She has ensured life continues beyond her;
the tree will care for her young alongside its own developing seeds. In time, some seeds will grow into centennial
trees, and somewhere, out there, a mother wasp looks
for a fig. And so the mutual cycle starts anew.

Watch This Bee Build Her Bee-jeweled Nest | Deep Look

Watch This Bee Build Her Bee-jeweled Nest | Deep Look


What’s this bee up to digging around in
the mud? This blue orchard bee is a mason, a builder. Her material is – you guessed it – mud. And she works alone. In fact, unlike those honeybee hives you might
think of, most of the 4,000 types of bees in North America are solitary. See how she scrapes the wet earth? She collects it with two huge pincer-like
tools on her face called mandibles. She’s gathering mud to make her nest. The nest is long and thin. In nature, she goes into places like hollow
twigs. At the University of California, Davis, she
uses a six-inch-long paper straw provided by researchers. In this nest without a straw you can see how
she builds a wall of mud. Then she gathers food from spring flowers,
but not only to feed herself. See the pretty purple pollen on the anther
of this flower? She grabs the anthers with her legs and rubs
the pollen onto hairs on her abdomen called scopa. And while she’s at it, she sips a little
nectar from the blooms. When she climbs back into her nest, she turns
the pollen and nectar into a sweet morsel next to the mud wall. On this purple ball she lays a single egg. She repeats this several times in her narrow
nest. Egg. Wall. Egg. Wall. When she’s done, she seals it all up with
more mud. A cross-section of the nest shows her incredible
craftsmanship: it looks like a piece of jewelry. Soon, the eggs hatch. The hungry larvae feed on their pollen provision,
the purple lunchbox their mom packed for them. Still in the safety of the nest, the well-fed
larva spins a cocoon. The following spring, the adult bee chews
its way out. Just like their name says, blue orchard bees
love orchards: fields of almonds and sweet cherries. And they’re really good at pollinating them:
A few hundred females can pollinate as many almonds as thousands of honeybees. And their tube nest means they’re portable. That makes it easy to distribute them to farmers. So why haven’t they taken over the fields? Well, they reproduce slowly. They only have 15 babies a year. A queen honeybee has 500 … a day. So there just aren’t that many blue orchard
bees around. But some farmers are enlisting them anyway,
hoping they can provide some relief to their struggling honeybee cousins. If you look carefully, you might just spot
a blue orchard bee foraging out in a field, helping keep fruits and nuts on our plates. Hi. It’s Laura. A special shoutout and thank you to Bill Cass
and James Tarraga, whose generous monthly support on Patreon helps make Deep Look possible. If you’d like to get in on the buzz, come
join our Deep Look community on Patreon. Click the button or link below to unlock rewards
like exclusive digital downloads, chats with the producers and cool swag. One more thing. Our partner, PBS Digital Studios, wants to
hear from you. It’s a survey so we can make even better
shows. It takes about ten minutes, and you might
win a sweet T-shirt. Link in the description. Thanks!

STARTING A NEW FIRE ANT COLONY | REBIRTH OF THE FIRE ANTS

STARTING A NEW FIRE ANT COLONY | REBIRTH OF THE FIRE ANTS


Last week, we said goodbye to one of the OG
ant colonies of this channel. It was with great sadness that we discovered
that the Fire Nation, my five year old fire ant colony, had died out. But with great endings come new beginnings,
and I can’t wait to introduce to you the heirs to the Fire Nation’s throne. AC Family, today we meet our brand new fire
ant queen and her first pioneering generation of fire ant workers. Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel, and hit the
BELL ICON. Welcome to the AC Family. Enjoy! Behold! The great successors of the Fire Nation. What you’re seeing here is a new fire ant
queen with her first generation of worker ants. These ants are about to receive something
truly special, so do keep on watching until the end to witness something magical this
colony is about to receive. Now in this test tube setup, we have the queen,
so gorgeous. We also have the first set of workers, which
are known as nanitics. You can also see eggs, larvae, and pupae. Check out that light coloured worker ant which
recently eclosed from its pupal stage. In a few days, it will be moving around like
the other workers, and its exoskeleton properly hardened. I find this fledgling fire ant colony to be
so cute, and I feel they’ll quickly rise in numbers to take their place as the mighty
fire ant colony of our Antiverse. Now, I was thinking. What should we name this colony? Should we call them Fire Nation 2.0 or the
Neo Fire Nation, or perhaps the Phoenix Nation, as was popularly suggested in last week’s
video. Let me know what you think we should name
this great fire ant colony in the making in this ipoll here. Thank you, AC Council for your input. You’ll notice the queen lays super still. She’s actually resting and preserving her
energy, and for good reason. She’s currently not in her best form at
the moment. You see, the queen hasn’t eaten a real,
full meal in weeks and has gone through quite a lot over the past month. So get this, after a queen mates during her
nuptial flight, she breaks off her wings, and goes off to seal herself within a chamber
in the soil, known as a claustral cell. In this claustral cell, the queen does not
eat and subsists entirely off energy stores in her back muscles which previously powered
her wings for flight. She lays eggs and once these eggs hatch into
larvae, she feeds the larvae a self-made nutritious soup, again created from her back muscle stores,
which she regurgitates up for the larvae to eat. The larvae grow, develop into pupae, then
eclose into adult worker ants. So, this queen here is starving. She literally raised these workers and larvae
off her own body tissues this whole time. Sound pretty crazy but it what she’s built
to do. It’s important she doesn’t move around
too much, though. She must preserve her energy at all costs
if she wants to survive to perpetuate the colony. The success of the entire colony now lies
in the hands of the nanitics. The most important first task of these workers
is to wander out into the world, and bring back some food so the queen can finally eat
after all these weeks of fasting, and AC Family, guess what: We’re about to make that moment
happen now. Let’s feed them! AC Family, I can’t wait for us to see this! Using a toothpick I placed a tiny drop of
honey into their test tube setup. Now let’s watch! Instantly a couple ants discovered the honey. Then a third came along to drink. Then a fourth… a fifth… and a sixth came
to drink. A seventh ant came along and an eighth. It was awesome to see that the honey was such
a hit! You also have to remember that these ants
have only known the self-made regurgitated soup from their mother, the queen. I imagine, as great as that must taste, this
honey must truly be blowing their minds right now! Wouldn’t you think? The queen began showing signs of excitement. I think she had been informed that her nanitics
had found something tasty just beyond. A few minutes later, workers with full social
stomachs came back to regurgitate the goods. At first, I saw the workers were feeding other
workers. This process of regurgitation and mouth to
mouth feeding is called trophallaxis, something all eusocial insects like bees and termites
do to distribute food among members of a colony. Then I noticed a worker feeding a larva. I bet that larvae was loving the honey. When the worker was done feeding it, you could
actually see the honey in the larva’s stomach through its semi-transparent body. How neat right? And then finally, a worker moved in to give
their starving queen mother her very first meal in weeks. Just awesome! More and more workers continued to feed their
queen via trophallaxis. She accepted their offerings graciously. For me, watching a queen and nanitics of a
starting ant colony receive their very first meal is truly one of the most beautiful things
to witness in the hobby, one of those ant keeping joys. Over the next few days, I will continue to
offer our fledgling fire ant colony here various small meals, like a cricket leg or a mealworm
head. The days of fasting and subsisting on the
queen’s own body tissues are now over, as the workers will be the ones feeding the queen
and brood from now on. With the queen properly nourished and a growing
army of worker ants caring for her and her future brood, she no longer needs to do anything
else but perform her primary duty of laying eggs. I think it’s super cool for us to be able
to start this awesome new journey with this new fire ant colony of ours. I think it’s extra cool because it’s been
years since we’ve been able to start an ant colony from scratch like this on the channel,
and I think it would be great for us to watch how a massive fire ant colony of the likes
of our late Fire Nation, emerges from such humble beginnings. Given ample food and resources, this species
literally explodes in population, so I anticipate that this colony will need to move out of
here in a week or two. I plan on moving them first into a Hybrid
Nest, and then once they outgrow that, move them into a terrarium perhaps. But here’s the thing about moving them into
the Selva de Fuego, the old home of our Fire Nation. A lot of you spotted that the supermajor in
last week’s episode had a blood sucking mite on it! It freaked me out because it meant that mites
could have been responsible for wiping out the Fire Nation, and not old age of the queen. But, it could also be possible that the blood
sucking mites came after the queen had died and the population started to dwindle and
weaken. Whatever the case, I’m not going to take
risks, and I have decided that I am going to have to ditch the Selva de Fuego and create
an entirely new vivarium from scratch. I still have a few months to plan before this
colony will be big enough to move in a terrarium anyway. Though the past few weeks have been quite
rough, this new fire ant colony brings me new hope. Though they don’t seem like it yet, this
cute ant colony will soon rise to become the savage, aggressive, and powerful fire ant
kingdom we once knew in the Fire Nation, and until then I’ll continue to nurture them
and film their evolution, every step of the way. Thank you for watching. It’s ant love forever. AC Family, are you as excited as I am about
this new fire ant colony? I look forward to building new memories together
with them and learning about them. I wonder if they have a different personality
than the Fire Nation. So much is in store ahead so if you haven’t
yet, SMASH that SUBSCRIBE button and BELL ICON now and hit ALL so you get notified at
every upload, because I believe notifications seem to be broken but the Youtube support
team is on it. Also don’t forget to hit the LIKE button
every single time including now. It would really mean a lot to me. Thank you, guys! AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, if you would like to watch some extended play footage of our new young fire
ant colony. And now it’s time for the AC Question of
the Week. Last week, we asked: Which was your favourite memory of the Fire
Nation? Congratulations to Patrick Tierney who answered: My favorite moment in the Fire Nation’s
history was when they were escaping their enclosures. Congratulations Patrick, you just won a free
Ultimate Ant Keeping handbook from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week we
ask: What is the name of the process of mouth-to-mouth
food transfer in eusocial insects? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could also win a free e-book handbook from our shop! Hope you could subscribe to our channel as
we upload every Saturday at 8AM EST. Please remember to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, and
SUBSCRIBE if you enjoyed this video, to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

Group recruitment in golden tail sugar ant

Group recruitment in golden tail sugar ant


Hey I have finally been able to take a video
of my favorite behavior of one of my favorite ant species that you can find here in Australia
in Sydney its name is Camponotus aeneopilosus also known as the Golden tail sugar ant. And you can see on this video that there is
one first ant a small one that is leading a group of workers, so if you count there
are about seven workers only following that first ant the ant leading that group is called
a scout. It forages quite randomely around the nest
and as soon as it finds something it comes back straight to the nest, start bumping into
other workers, and when it feels that other workers are motivated to join her on a new
trip to the food source it stats running away from the nest leaving a very light pheromone
trail that does not last long behind, and the other workers try to follow that scout
using visual informations, so by looking at this ant and using of course the light pheromone
trails that the first worker leaves behind. This behavior is very interesting and it allows
these ants to recruit other foragers very very quickly which is of course very useful
when the resources are scarce. Another advantage of this technique of recruitment
is that by not leaving strong pheromone trails behind them, the other ants cannot use the
trails left by this species to find the same food source. Of course it sometimes happens that the leader
loose a few workers on the way, but they are able to go to the food source very quickly
and that is the essential part for the colony, so it is not such a big loss. In that case, the food source was not very
glamorous, sorry about that, it was hum… bird droppings. It is a quite common food source for ants. As you can see on this video the Camponotus
were not the first one on that food source and you can see the small black ants that
are everywhere here. They are probably Iridomyrmex or Tapinoma
ants. They are very very efficient foragers, which
also explains why it is important for ants like Camponotus to find ways to recruit other
workers very quickly. Thank you for watching I hope you enjoyed
this video.

MY GREATEST ANT COLONY DIED | RIP FIRE NATION

MY GREATEST ANT COLONY DIED | RIP FIRE NATION


Last week, during our full ant room tour update
video, we fed my biggest ant colony in the Ant Room, our OG fire ant colony, we call
the Fire Nation, some sweet jelly and an entire cockroach. This was actually the first time I offered
them food on this open rock platform in quite awhile, just so we could see them for filming. Ordinarily, I’d drop their food directly
into the thick vegetation around their mothernest where the ants would finish off their meals
in private. But this feeding would be different, and it
wasn’t long before I noticed something quite strange. This was what the feeding site looked like
several hours later. Usually, the fire ants would be swarming all
over this food, but here as you can see, there were only a few ants. Where did all my fire ants go? And what I saw a few hours after that, brought
a sick feeling to the pit of my stomach. There! Did you see it? Wild feral black crazy ants and ghost ants
were inside the Fire Nation’s territory. This never happens! The territorial pheromones of the fire ants
were enough to scare all feral ants in my home from coming anywhere near this tank. Now, they were seen inside! Something was terribly wrong. What happened to the Fire Nation? Where was my most beloved and biggest pet
ant colony of my entire collection? There was only one way to find out. Please SUBSCRIBE to my channel, and hit the
BELL ICON. Welcome to the AC Family! Enjoy! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Ghost ants and black crazy ants entering the
Selva de Fuego, the Fire Nation’s massive paludarium kingdom. I even spotted one black crazy ant making
away with a dead fire ant worker! What had happened here? Well, I got to the bottom of it all and I
explain what I believe happened so keep on watching until the end. I couldn’t believe that just a few months
ago the colony looked like this. Millions of ants, swarming above ground, in
celebration of their annual nuptial flight event, where reproductive males and females
hope to mate with those of other fire ant colonies. Of course, seeing as I don’t have any other
fire ant colonies in my room, all the reproductive queen hopefuls and males, ended up not mating
with anyone and dying out within the territories like they do every year at this time. It was shocking to see a colony which I’ve
had for over 4 yrs go from millions to just a few. This fire ant colony was definitely the most
popular ant colony on this channel, and I would say was responsible for taking this
channel and all of us AC Family, where we are toda y. The Fire Nation has accumulated over 153M
views collectively. Their first break out viral video My Fire
Ants Are Planning an Escape currently has over 39 million views. Shortly after, they showed us the savage side
of nature in the video Cockroach Giving Birth While Being Devoured by Fire Ants, which was
featured on Nat Geo and Discovery Channel. Together we watched as the Fire Nation devoured
Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton during US elections season, and showed us the miracle of how they
survive floods by literally creating air chambers using their bodies and by floating on water. They showed us how they amazingly could walk
a tight-rope to get to food across my room. When the channel hit 1 million subscribers,
I tested my luck by placing my honey-covered hand into their nest, at which of course they
riddled me with stings. On Christmas, we gave them a glittering cockroach
christmas tree which they devoured lovingly. Eventually they moved from their formicarium
to this enormous half land – half water simulation of the Amazon River and rainforest which they
dominated and ruled for two very epic years! We marveled at the Fire Nation’s display
of blood and flesh-lust as they tore apart a bird-eating tarantula, a chicken head, a
mouse, a monitor lizard, and even compete with an army of maggots for a decaying turkey
head! They even gave me battle scars on occasion
to remind me that they were an ant colony to be respected. A super organism and force of nature that
wasn’t playing around! We’ve also been lucky to spot, her royal
highness a few times, the Queen of the Fire Nation, whose name is Queen Solis, sole egg-layer
of the colony, birther of this ant army of millions, who once even narrated an episode. There’s no denying that this ant colony,
though the most challenging ants I’ve ever kept, always keeping me on my toes, was also
one of the most amazing collection of animals, I’ve ever had the honour of caring for. And so it was time to get to the bottom of
what had happened to the Fire Nation. It pained my heart to put on my gloves, knowing
that this could possibly be the last time, I’d be arming myself to go into the Selva
de Fuego, the kingdom I had built with my own hands just for them. My heart raced as I stared down at the location
of their mothernest. If the Fire Nation was still alive, they for
sure would be in here somewhere. My mind started to come up with possibilities. Perhaps they had eaten a lot and weren’t
so hungry. But no, that had never happened before ever! AC Family, it was time to get our answers. I went in and removed the driftwood that formed
their mothernest. I looked for fire ants which ordinarily would
be swarming right now as they did the last time I worked in here. And AC Family, what I saw next shocked me
to the core, as the entire life of the Fire Nation flashed before my eyes. Nothing. The Fire Nation was nowhere to be found in
the location of the mothernest. I could see empty chambers which once held
teams of fire ants, brood, and formed the passageways frequented by queen and male alates,
as well as Queen Solis. They were empty now and ghost tunnels. But then a movement caught my eye. It was a lone supermajor crawling around in
the soil. I also spotted a minor worker crawling around
in the empty dirt. The truth made me so sad, but I had to accept
it. AC Family, I’m sorry to say that I believe
the Fire Nation was on its final days. Our Queen Solis, the sole egg layer of the
entire colony must have died and these ants here were the last remaining ants of her final
batch of eggs. I’m so sorry, AC Family. I’ll be honest, I don’t think I ever felt
such sadness over the loss of a colony like I do now. Now that you guys know how epic the entire
four year journey was with this amazing ant colony, you can probably understand why I
cried when I realized I had lost these amazing, amazing creatures. I know, crying over ants. It sounds so weird to new ears but it’s
just one of those things where you need to be there on the whole journey with them to
understand. I felt this was the end of an era for the
entire Antiverse, the end of the most amazing ant colony in the world in my heart. I placed the driftwood piece back in its spot
and left the Selva de Fuego to allow the final workers to live out their final days in peace. The Fire Nation was about five years old,
and though I’ve been saying on this channel that though the workers only live for a couple
months and that ant queens live for up to 30 yrs, I think I failed to clarify that this
was assumed by the ant keeping community seeing as it was recorded in a German laboratory
that a Lasius niger queen lived that long, but the truth of the matter is, there are
thousands of species of ants and we haven’t kept every ant species in captivity long enough
to be able to tell and verify how long the queens of each ant species actually lives. I think the passing of the Fire Nation, assuming
they didn’t die out from some freak disease, has taught us that the queens of Solenopsis
geminata, red tropical fire ants, live for about 5 yrs before passing away. Queen Solis must have died, some time in November. In a typical fire ant queen’s life, during
those five fruitful years she lays millions of ants, spawning hundreds of generations
of workers, creating hundreds of thousands of reproductive ants during nuptial flight
season every year which go on to mate with those of other fire ant colonies and continue
on the species, to complete the circle of life. The Fire Nation’s passing was such a tough
reminder that the Circle of Life is indeed a full circle, and our once booming fire ant
colony was inevitably destined to come to an end and eventually die. Though the passing of the OG ant colony of
the channel was sad, I also realized that we had learned so much from them over the
years, and that they had not lived in vain. Some of the footage and discoveries we made
of their intriguing, secret lives in the soil and water, during the course of the four years
we’ve followed them on this channel, have not been documented by science. By providing the Fire Nation the best possible
care we could give them to live out their best lives, they rewarded us back with such
a wealth of info, discovery, and heart-stopping and adventurous moments, and that to me is
the essence of what ant keeping is all about. I have been contemplating for a long time
about what to do with the Selva de Fuego, now that it was devoid of an ant colony, other
than these feral ants which by the way we need to discourage from being here, so I was
hoping to get your opinions AC Council. Should we get rid of the Selva de Fuego and
rehome all the aquatic life, or move in another of our ant colonies in here like the Golden
Empire or the Titans? Or should I try to find a brand new fledgling
fire ant colony to start all over again from scratch, to be the Fire Nation’s successors,
a Fire Nation 2.0 of sorts. Let me know in this ipoll here. AC Family, this week, I lit a candle on our
behalf to celebrate the life and death of one of the most amazing ant colonies in the
world. Rest in peace to the Fire Nation. Goodbye, my beloved fire ant colony. I’ll miss you greatly. AC Family, it was a tough two weeks for me
when I first noticed the Fire Nation population had dwindled and then later discovered they
had died out, but I suppose it’s all part of the hobby. So much is in store ahead so if you haven’t
yet, SMASH that SUBSCRIBE button and BELL ICON now and hit ALL so you get notified at
every upload, because I believe notifications seem to be broken but the Youtube support
team is on it. Also don’t forget to hit the LIKE button
every single time including now. It would really mean a lot to me. Thank you, guys! AC Inner Colony, I have left a hidden cookie
for you here, if you would like to watch some extended play footage of some of my favourite
memories of the Fire Nation. And now it’s time for the AC Question of
the Week. Last week, we asked: Which was your favourite creature featured
in today’s full pet ant tour? Congratulations to Alexander Churchill who
answered: I love Jabba the Hutt, the Surinam Horned
Frog. Congratulations Alexander, you just won a
free Ultimate Ant Keeping handbook from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week we
ask: Which was your favourite memory of the Fire
Nation? Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could also win a free e-book handbook from our shop! Hope you could subscribe to our channel as
we upload every Saturday at 8AM EST. Please remember to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, and
SUBSCRIBE if you enjoyed this video, to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

Mating frenzies, sperm hoards, and brood raids: the life of a fire ant queen – Walter R. Tschinkel


It’s June, just after a heavy rainfall, and the sky is filling with creatures
we wouldn’t normally expect to find there. At first glance,
this might be a disturbing sight. But for the lucky males and females
of Solenopsis invicta, otherwise known as fire ants,
it’s a day of romance. This is the nuptial flight, when thousands of reproduction-capable
male and female ants, called alates,
take wing for the first and last time. But even for successful males
who manage to avoid winged predators, this mating frenzy will prove lethal. And for a successfully mated female,
her work is only beginning. Having secured a lifetime supply of sperm
from her departed mate, our new queen must now single-handedly
start an entire colony. Descending to the ground, she searches for a suitable spot
to build her nest. Ideally, she can find somewhere
with loose, easy-to-dig soil— like farmland
already disturbed by human activity. Once she finds the perfect spot,
she breaks off her wings— creating the stubs
that establish her royal status. Then, she starts digging
a descending tunnel ending in a chamber. Here the queen begins laying her eggs,
about ten per day, and the first larvae hatch within a week. Over the next three weeks, the new queen relies on a separate batch
of unfertilized eggs to nourish both herself and her brood, losing half her body weight
in the process. Thankfully, after about 20 days, these larvae grow
into the first generation of workers, ready to forage for food
and sustain their shrunken queen. Her daughters
will have to work quickly though— returning their mother
to good health is urgent. In the surrounding area, dozens of neighboring queens
are building their own ant armies. These colonies
have peacefully coexisted so far, but once workers appear, a phenomenon known as brood-raiding
begins. Workers from nests
up to several meters away begin to steal offspring
from our queen. Our colony retaliates, but new waves of raiders
from even further away overwhelm the workers. Within hours, the raiders have taken
our queen’s entire brood supply to the largest nearby nest— and the queen’s surviving daughters
abandon her. Chasing her last chance of survival, the queen follows the raiding trail
to the winning nest. She fends off other losing queens
and the defending nest’s workers, fighting her way
to the top of the brood pile. Her daughters help their mother succeed
where other queens fail— defeating the reigning monarch,
and usurping the brood pile. Eventually,
all the remaining challengers fail, until only one queen—
and one brood pile— remains. Now presiding over several hundred workers
in the neighborhood’s largest nest, our victorious queen begins
aiding her colony in its primary goal: reproduction. For the next several years,
the colony only produces sterile workers. But once their population
exceeds about 23,000, it changes course. From now on, every spring, the colony will produce
fertile alate males and females. The colony spawns these larger ants
throughout the early summer, and returns to worker production
in the fall. After heavy rainfalls,
these alates take to the skies, and spread their queen’s genes
up to a couple hundred meters downwind. But to contribute
to this annual mating frenzy, the colony must continue to thrive
as one massive super-organism. Every day, younger ants feed the queen
and tend to the brood, while older workers
forage for food and defend the nest. When intruders strike, these older warriors fend them off
using poisonous venom. After rainfalls,
the colony comes together, using the wet dirt to expand their nest. And when a disastrous flood
drowns their home, the sisters band together
into a massive living raft— carrying their queen to safety. But no matter how resilient, the life of a colony must come to an end. After about 8 years,
our queen runs out of sperm and can no longer replace dying workers. The nest’s population dwindles,
and eventually, they’re taken over
by a neighboring colony. Our queen’s reign is over,
but her genetic legacy lives on.

Warrior Wasp Adventure!

Warrior Wasp Adventure!


(creepy music) – I just know that if
this is more painful than the Bullet Ant, it’s
gonna be one, rough evening for Coyote Peterson. (mellow music) What I’m gonna try to do is
see if I can get Harvester Ants on my hands and let them bite
and sting me for 60 seconds. If you guys want me to be stung
by the Bullet Ant someday, I think you have to
walk before you can run. (grunts) Ah, there’s
one in my neck. Mario, get the one off my neck. (suspenseful music) This is crazy guys,
this is crazy. My nerve’s going this
much for the Velvet Ants. I can’t imagine what
the Tarantula Hawk
and the Bullet Ant are gonna be like. Ow. (grunts) Oh my gosh, guys. It’s super bad. You could feel, go all
the way under the skin. This is the worst
sting I’ve ever taken. There’s no question ’bout it. It’s worse than a Harvester
Ant, it’s worse than a Fire Ant. Now they say that the
sting of a Tarantula Hawk, it’s like being
stunned with taser, all you can do is scream. (dramatic music) Ah. I can’t move my arm. (grunts) Guys, I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know. Actually seen the
Bullet Ant face to face, Coyote pack, it is
unbelievably intimidating. (dramatic music) (grunts) Oh, it’s sucking my arm. It’s sucking my arm. (grunts) It’s stinger’s into
my arm, look at that. Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. The Warrior Wasp is in
a league of it’s own. And it is rumored that
this does in fact have the most painful sting
in the insect kingdom. Whoa. (suspenseful music) That is an enormous nest
of angry Warrior Wasps. Stay tuned coyote pack,
the Warrior Wasp challenge is coming. (suspenseful music) The climatic end to my climb
of the insect sting pain index is just days away. Will the Warrior Wasp sting
be the worse I’ve ever taken? Stay tuned and in case
you somehow missed it, make sure to go back and
watch my painful encounter with the one and
only Bullet Ant. And don’t forget, subscribe. So you can join me and
the crew on this season of breaking trail. Two. Oh my gosh, this is it. Three. (animal howls)

WILL IT BITE?! – BIG CREEPY SPIDER!

WILL IT BITE?! – BIG CREEPY SPIDER!


– What I’m gonna do now, is let it walk on
my hands and my arm. – What?
– Are you ready for this? – [Coyote] Yeah. – [Mark] You’re gonna let
that thing walk on you? – This is to prove, oh my gosh, I just
saw its fangs. His fangs are huge. (tribal beat music) No matter how brave you may be, I’m willing to bet
that there is something you are afraid of. (dramatic music) Fears or phobias,
as they are known in the medical
sciences community, come in many shapes and sizes. When it comes to
the fear of spiders, properly known as arachnophobia, I think it’s safe to
say that this fear, also come with many legs. – [Mark] What are
you looking at? – Look at this. That’s a Golden Silk Orbweaver. Look at the size of that spider. That’s a female, for sure,
the males are smaller. Whoa, there’s more over here. The whole side of this
house is covered in them. Look at this. Wow, look at them. Look, they’re all running. Ooh, look at this
one right here. Try to not startle it. Whoa. – [Mark] Oh. – That right there,
is a big spider. Oh boy. You know it might
be interesting, why don’t we do an episode like
we did with the black widow, where I free-handle
one of these spiders, to find out if it bites or not. What do you think? – [Mark] Aw man,
they’re definitely very
impressive looking, look at that. – Yeah, a lot bigger
than the black widow, that’s for sure. I have handled many
species of spiders. And whether they
are huge and hairy, like the desert tarantula, or sleek and toxic,
like the black widow, it never fails to send
shivers down my spine, as they skitter along my arms. (eerie suspenseful music) Oh my. Going right onto the
edge of my finger. Okay, now she’s
coming down my arm. She’s actually spun a
little thread of web, like she’s becoming
secured to me. Oh I thought she
was about to bite. One of my underlying goals, has always been to help people
face their fear of spiders. So today, I will be handing
one of the most common, yet scariest looking
arachnids in Central America, the Golden Orbweaver. But first, I have to catch one. Wow, that is a massive web. Look at the anchor
points down here that then run all the way
up, into the hot zone. This spider’s got a
good cache of food already stored up, but given the fact that
there are not too many guard strands on
the outside here, I think I might be able to
actually catch this one. Alright should we go for it? – [Mark] Let’s do it. – Let me see if I can get
her to come right down. – [Mark] You know it’s a her? – [Coyote] Definitely a her. Ahhh, I’m losing it. Got it, got it, got
it, got it, got it. – [Mark] Nice. – There we go. Whoa, that is a big
spider right there. And I bet anybody
watching right now who has arachnophobia is
thinking to themselves, Coyote you are absolutely crazy. Okay, let’s bring it out here, from under the overhand. There we go. It’s staying completely
still on the stick, look at that. Arachnid, wow, one
impressive specimen. Whoa, okay, going up to
the top of the stick, look at those hooked legs. That will make your skin crawl. Okay Mark, give me that
little plastic cube. Real slowly before
it drops down on me. Got it, got it, got it, got it. I’m gonna see if I can get
her to slowly walk in there. Okay. There you go. – [Mark] Whoa. – Got it. Wow. That is one intimidating
arachnid right there. Alright, let’s get this spider
into a controlled situation and see, just how
dangerous it really is. (dramatic music) Warning, spider bites can
be incredibly dangerous and potentially fatal. Never attempt to catch
or handle a spider. Alright, now I am going to
keep my spider stick with me just in case I need
to balance the animal on it at some point. Oh boy, you see it up in its web and you’re like, oh
it’s not that big. Until you get it inside
of a clear plastic cube and it’s right
next to your face, it looks a lot bigger,
up close and personal. Alright, I’m going
to take off my pack so I have a little
more mobility. Now like Arizona’s black widow, this spider is oftentimes
found in residential areas and they build their webs
all over man-made structures. So it’s a species that you
oftentimes stumble upon. However, because
they’re web builders, they stick to their webs. Now people do encounter them, because if you’re out
there in the rainforest, they oftentimes will span
their webs between two trees. And like in one of those
famous adventure movies, if you’re walking through
the rainforest at night, whap, you may walk
straight into a web and find this spider
on your person. Now these spiders are armed with a neurotoxic
venom which will attack the nervous system of the prey. And what these spiders
are out here feasting on, is any sort of insect
that’s unfortunate enough to fly into their webs. However, some of these
spiders to grow large enough where they actually
take lizards, and I’ve seen pictures
on the internet, of ones that have
eaten small birds and bats, how crazy is that? Now those are the
ones in Australia. The ones here in Central
and South America don’t grow quite as big. And there are actually 23
recognized species worldwide. This is actually a
spider that people often see in Florida and
they show up in bananas. Did you know that? They’re actually also
known as the banana spider. – [Mark] Oh. – They’ve been transported
into the United States through shipments of fruit. Now unlike the wandering spider, this is not a nomadic hunter. It’s waiting for its
prey to come to its web. Now let’s say a fly or
a beetle gets trapped in that sticky spider silk. What they will do
is rush forward and inflict a bite. That initial hit
from those fangs sends the pry into shock, and as the neurotoxic venom
is beginning to shut down that victim’s system, what the spider will do, is crawl back and just
watch its prey struggle. The more it struggles, the more it becomes
entangled in the web. And once it succumbs
to the venom, what they’ll do is come in, and
spin a web around the victim and then store it there. Now based on the
variety of orbweaver, they have a different
potency of venom. The one that’s here in
Central and South America, while I don’t
believe can kill you, is extremely painful. A bite from this spider will cause your arm to swell up, it’ll be really bad,
you’ll have dry mouth, cramping in your stomach and it’s gonna be a really
really rough afternoon, if I end up getting
tagged by this creature. Now here’s where it gets
a little tricky guys. Like the black widow,
this spider is capable of giving me a
pretty painful bite. But to prove that this spider
is not just out to bite you, what I’m gonna do now, is let it walk on
my hands and my arm. – What?
– Are you ready for this? – Yeah. – [Mark] You’re gonna let
that thing walk on you. – This is to prove, oh my gosh, I just saw its fangs,
his fangs are huge. Okay, maybe I am having
second thoughts about this. Oh boy here we go. (suspenseful music) Alright, what I want to do is actually use my spider stick. And let the spider get
onto the stick first so that it feels a
little more comfortable. There we go. That’s a big spider. Now you know what I’m
gonna have to deal with is the webbing, just like
I did the black widow. Can you see that? And the tensile
strength of this web is so much stronger, than
that of the black widow, so I hope that I’m not
tangled up too bad. Okay here we go. I’m gonna start by letting
it crawl onto this hand. Oh boy, oh boy. Let me spin it
for you like that. Wow, it is beautiful,
that’s for sure. Alright, it seems to be pretty
calmed down at this point. What I’m gonna do is
put the stick sideways, my mouth is getting dry,
I’m getting nervous. I’m gonna just place my hand
out in front of the spider and see if it will walk
out onto my fingers. Are you ready? One two three. (eerie suspenseful music) Okay, the spider is on my arm. Okay, going up my arm. Okay, okay, oh boy,
I’m losing control of it, it’s getting back here, let me see if I can
get it to go that way, and around this way. There we go. It’s got its legs up in the air, let me see if I can
keep it completely calm. There you see my hand
is shaking a little bit. – [Mark] Is that a
defensive position? – It’s a little bit of
a defensive position with the legs up in
the air like that and it’s right on my knuckle. Don’t bite me, don’t
bite me, don’t bite me. Oh I can feel all the
little hooks of its legs. – [Mark] What are you
feeling right now? You feeling those nerves going? – Extremely nervous, I’m
trying to be super still. Let the spider find a place
where it feels comfortable. And hopefully it will
just, oh there we go oh. Look at that, it
wanted to go right back onto the stick. Look, you can actually
see the webbing hanging right from the tip of my finger. Here, let me see if I can
get it back on my hand. (suspenseful music) There we go. She’s really just
interested in getting away. Now remember, this spider
does have a neurotoxic venom, very similar to that
of the black widow. I want to just remain
completely calm. – [Mark] If you were
bitten by this spider, to be clear, it’s a
very bad situation. – It could potentially
be really bad depending on how much
venom went into my body. Okay, oh man, the webbing
is so much stronger than that of the black widow. Okay, where did she go? – [Mark] On your
elbow, up your back. – Okay, it’s coming this way, I’m gonna slowly turn, see if I can get her
back onto my hand. – [Mark] Yep yep
there you go, got it. – [Coyote] There we go. What I don’t want to do is
make any sudden movement or pull the webbing too tightly, because if she feels threatened, that is when she’s
going to bite. Now the way that most spider
bites end up happening is somebody applies
pressure to the arachnid and they fear for their lives. And a bite is oftentimes
just a warning that hey, I am here,
don’t squish me. Now spiders can control
the amount of venom that they inject into
what it is they’re biting. And because I am not
a potential prey item, if she were to bite me ooh boy, right onto the
tip of my finger there, she’s completely tangling me up. If she were to bite me, it
could possibly be a dry bite, or I would basically keep
my fingers crossed and pray, that it was not a full on
bite loaded with venom, because that could be an
incredibly bad situation. There we go. She feels real
comfortable there. Man, I am getting
completely tangled up. And I can feel how strong
that spider silk is. – [Mark] Coyote. – Yeah yeah yeah. – [Mark] Do you think
you have good control over the situation here? – I don’t think you
ever have good control when there’s a spider
just freely climbing around on your body,
where did she go? (suspenseful music) Okay. Wow, I’m getting big time
tangled up here guys. Look at that, there’s
so much webbing, she’s able to just free climb
right out on top of me there. That gives me the opportunity to get rid of some
of that spider silk. Whoa, just a moment
to breath there, where she’s not
actually on my hand. – [Mark] Now tell us why
you’re doing this Coyote, you have a reason for this. – There’s always
a reason for this. And the reason is that
you should not just automatically be afraid
of these spiders. Actually these arachnids
are doing wonderful things for the environment, by eating a lot of pest insects. Now if you’re in
Central or South America and you see one of these
outside of your house, you don’t need to
be afraid of it. These spiders stick
to their webs, and all they’re doing is
catching nuisance insects. Now if you go into that web and you tried to
harass the spider, obviously you may be bitten, but the spider really
has no interest in actually biting me, as long as I don’t apply
pressure to its body. I’m getting a little
more comfortable now, but you always have
to keep your guard up, because you see how she’s
getting all tangled up in her own webbing? I don’t want her to feel like she’s being pulled
in any one direction and then end up
inflicting a bite. This is a species
that’s only interested in eating insects,
not in biting humans. – [Mark] Now you would never
do this with something like a wandering spider, correct? – No, a wandering spider’s
venom is so incredibly potent it could put me in the hospital. A bite from a spider like this, there is the chance
that a lot of venom could go into my body. However, as a human, I am
not prey for this species, so the bite probably
wouldn’t be so bad that I’d need to
go to the hospital, however it would swell
up, it would turn red, dry mouth, cramping
in my stomach, but after about 24 hours, it would be nothing more
than a red, itchy spot. You know, my nerves
calm quite a bit, once the spider has found a spot that it is comfortable,
and not walking around. You can see its
mandibles and fangs are well up off of
my hand right now, but if I were to startle her or apply any pressure
to the top of her body, it would force her down, and that’s when a bite
would be inflicted. Again, I never recommend
that you go out in the wild and ever try to free-handle
a spider on your own. You never know how your body
would react to the venom if you were bitten. Well guys, it looks like the sun is starting to get a
little low in the sky, which means it’s gonna be close to hunting time
for this arachnid, because when the sun gets low, that’s when all the
insects come out. So what I want to do now, whoa, she’s going down my arm, is safely get her,
back up into her web so that she can go out
and hunt for the night. I’m Coyote Peterson, be brave, stay wild, we’ll see you
on the next adventure. Alright, back up into
the web with you. Spiders can be found on
almost every continent and while they’re all
technically venomous, they do their best to
save that potent bite, for their prey. Unless threatened or
provoked, as a human, your odds of being
bitten by a spider like the Golden Orbweaver, are slim to none. So if you have the
phobia of arachnids running chills down your spine, Try to tell yourself that
spiders are a good thing. Whether you believe it or not, spiders are actually
our friends. If you thought handling
the Golden Orbweaver was chilling, make sure to
go back and watch the episode where I let the
infamous black widow crawl freely over my hands. And don’t forget, subscribe, so you can join me and the crew, on this season of
Breaking Trail. (coyote howling)

Cheryl Hayashi: The magnificence of spider silk

Cheryl Hayashi: The magnificence of spider silk


I’m here to spread the word about the magnificence of spiders and how much we can learn from them. Spiders are truly global citizens. You can find spiders in nearly every terrestrial habitat. This red dot marks the Great Basin of North America, and I’m involved with an alpine biodiversity project there with some collaborators. Here’s one of our field sites, and just to give you a sense of perspective, this little blue smudge here, that’s one of my collaborators. This is a rugged and barren landscape, yet there are quite a few spiders here. Turning rocks over revealed this crab spider grappling with a beetle. Spiders are not just everywhere, but they’re extremely diverse. There are over 40,000 described species of spiders. To put that number into perspective, here’s a graph comparing the 40,000 species of spiders to the 400 species of primates. There are two orders of magnitude more spiders than primates. Spiders are also extremely old. On the bottom here, this is the geologic timescale, and the numbers on it indicate millions of years from the present, so the zero here, that would be today. So what this figure shows is that spiders date back to almost 380 million years. To put that into perspective, this red vertical bar here marks the divergence time of humans from chimpanzees, a mere seven million years ago. All spiders make silk at some point in their life. Most spiders use copious amounts of silk, and silk is essential to their survival and reproduction. Even fossil spiders can make silk, as we can see from this impression of a spinneret on this fossil spider. So this means that both spiders and spider silk have been around for 380 million years. It doesn’t take long from working with spiders to start noticing how essential silk is to just about every aspect of their life. Spiders use silk for many purposes, including the trailing safety dragline, wrapping eggs for reproduction, protective retreats and catching prey. There are many kinds of spider silk. For example, this garden spider can make seven different kinds of silks. When you look at this orb web, you’re actually seeing many types of silk fibers. The frame and radii of this web is made up of one type of silk, while the capture spiral is a composite of two different silks: the filament and the sticky droplet. How does an individual spider make so many kinds of silk? To answer that, you have to look a lot closer at the spinneret region of a spider. So silk comes out of the spinnerets, and for those of us spider silk biologists, this is what we call the “business end” of the spider. (Laughter) We spend long days … Hey! Don’t laugh. That’s my life. (Laughter) We spend long days and nights staring at this part of the spider. And this is what we see. You can see multiple fibers coming out of the spinnerets, because each spinneret has many spigots on it. Each of these silk fibers exits from the spigot, and if you were to trace the fiber back into the spider, what you would find is that each spigot connects to its own individual silk gland. A silk gland kind of looks like a sac with a lot of silk proteins stuck inside. So if you ever have the opportunity to dissect an orb-web-weaving spider, and I hope you do, what you would find is a bounty of beautiful, translucent silk glands. Inside each spider, there are hundreds of silk glands, sometimes thousands. These can be grouped into seven categories. They differ by size, shape, and sometimes even color. In an orb-web-weaving spider, you can find seven types of silk glands, and what I have depicted here in this picture, let’s start at the one o’clock position, there’s tubuliform silk glands, which are used to make the outer silk of an egg sac. There’s the aggregate and flagelliform silk glands which combine to make the sticky capture spiral of an orb web. Pyriform silk glands make the attachment cement — that’s the silk that’s used to adhere silk lines to a substrate. There’s also aciniform silk, which is used to wrap prey. Minor ampullate silk is used in web construction. And the most studied silk line of them all: major ampullate silk. This is the silk that’s used to make the frame and radii of an orb web, and also the safety trailing dragline. But what, exactly, is spider silk? Spider silk is almost entirely protein. Nearly all of these proteins can be explained by a single gene family, so this means that the diversity of silk types we see today is encoded by one gene family, so presumably the original spider ancestor made one kind of silk, and over the last 380 million years, that one silk gene has duplicated and then diverged, specialized, over and over and over again, to get the large variety of flavors of spider silks that we have today. There are several features that all these silks have in common. They all have a common design, such as they’re all very long — they’re sort of outlandishly long compared to other proteins. They’re very repetitive, and they’re very rich in the amino acids glycine and alanine. To give you an idea of what a spider silk protein looks like, this is a dragline silk protein, it’s just a portion of it, from the black widow spider. This is the kind of sequence that I love looking at day and night. (Laughter) So what you’re seeing here is the one letter abbreviation for amino acids, and I’ve colored in the glycines with green, and the alanines in red, and so you can see it’s just a lot of G’s and A’s. You can also see that there’s a lot of short sequence motifs that repeat over and over and over again, so for example there’s a lot of what we call polyalanines, or iterated A’s, AAAAA. There’s GGQ. There’s GGY. You can think of these short motifs that repeat over and over again as words, and these words occur in sentences. So for example this would be one sentence, and you would get this sort of green region and the red polyalanine, that repeats over and over and over again, and you can have that hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times within an individual silk molecule. Silks made by the same spider can have dramatically different repeat sequences. At the top of the screen, you’re seeing the repeat unit from the dragline silk of a garden argiope spider. It’s short. And on the bottom, this is the repeat sequence for the egg case, or tubuliform silk protein, for the exact same spider. And you can see how dramatically different these silk proteins are — so this is sort of the beauty of the diversification of the spider silk gene family. You can see that the repeat units differ in length. They also differ in sequence. So I’ve colored in the glycines again in green, alanine in red, and the serines, the letter S, in purple. And you can see that the top repeat unit can be explained almost entirely by green and red, and the bottom repeat unit has a substantial amount of purple. What silk biologists do is we try to relate these sequences, these amino acid sequences, to the mechanical properties of the silk fibers. Now, it’s really convenient that spiders use their silk completely outside their body. This makes testing spider silk really, really easy to do in the laboratory, because we’re actually, you know, testing it in air that’s exactly the environment that spiders are using their silk proteins. So this makes quantifying silk properties by methods such as tensile testing, which is basically, you know, tugging on one end of the fiber, very amenable. Here are stress-strain curves generated by tensile testing five fibers made by the same spider. So what you can see here is that the five fibers have different behaviors. Specifically, if you look on the vertical axis, that’s stress. If you look at the maximum stress value for each of these fibers, you can see that there’s a lot of variation, and in fact dragline, or major ampullate silk, is the strongest of these fibers. We think that’s because the dragline silk, which is used to make the frame and radii for a web, needs to be very strong. On the other hand, if you were to look at strain — this is how much a fiber can be extended — if you look at the maximum value here, again, there’s a lot of variation and the clear winner is flagelliform, or the capture spiral filament. In fact, this flagelliform fiber can actually stretch over twice its original length. So silk fibers vary in their strength and also their extensibility. In the case of the capture spiral, it needs to be so stretchy to absorb the impact of flying prey. If it wasn’t able to stretch so much, then basically when an insect hit the web, it would just trampoline right off of it. So if the web was made entirely out of dragline silk, an insect is very likely to just bounce right off. But by having really, really stretchy capture spiral silk, the web is actually able to absorb the impact of that intercepted prey. There’s quite a bit of variation within the fibers that an individual spider can make. We call that the tool kit of a spider. That’s what the spider has to interact with their environment. But how about variation among spider species, so looking at one type of silk and looking at different species of spiders? This is an area that’s largely unexplored but here’s a little bit of data I can show you. This is the comparison of the toughness of the dragline spilk spun by 21 species of spiders. Some of them are orb-weaving spiders and some of them are non-orb-weaving spiders. It’s been hypothesized that orb-weaving spiders, like this argiope here, should have the toughest dragline silks because they must intercept flying prey. What you see here on this toughness graph is the higher the black dot is on the graph, the higher the toughness. The 21 species are indicated here by this phylogeny, this evolutionary tree, that shows their genetic relationships, and I’ve colored in yellow the orb-web-weaving spiders. If you look right here at the two red arrows, they point to the toughness values for the draglines of nephila clavipes and araneus diadematus. These are the two species of spiders for which the vast majority of time and money on synthetic spider silk research has been to replicate their dragline silk proteins. Yet, their draglines are not the toughest. In fact, the toughest dragline in this survey is this one right here in this white region, a non orb-web-weaving spider. This is the dragline spun by scytodes, the spitting spider. Scytodes doesn’t use a web at all to catch prey. Instead, scytodes sort of lurks around and waits for prey to get close to it, and then immobilizes prey by spraying a silk-like venom onto that insect. Think of hunting with silly string. That’s how scytodes forages. We don’t really know why scytodes needs such a tough dragline, but it’s unexpected results like this that make bio-prospecting so exciting and worthwhile. It frees us from the constraints of our imagination. Now I’m going to mark on the toughness values for nylon fiber, bombyx — or domesticated silkworm silk — wool, Kevlar, and carbon fibers. And what you can see is that nearly all the spider draglines surpass them. It’s the combination of strength, extensibility and toughness that makes spider silk so special, and that has attracted the attention of biomimeticists, so people that turn to nature to try to find new solutions. And the strength, extensibility and toughness of spider silks combined with the fact that silks do not elicit an immune response, have attracted a lot of interest in the use of spider silks in biomedical applications, for example, as a component of artificial tendons, for serving as guides to regrow nerves, and for scaffolds for tissue growth. Spider silks also have a lot of potential for their anti-ballistic capabilities. Silks could be incorporated into body and equipment armor that would be more lightweight and flexible than any armor available today. In addition to these biomimetic applications of spider silks, personally, I find studying spider silks just fascinating in and of itself. I love when I’m in the laboratory, a new spider silk sequence comes in. That’s just the best. (Laughter) It’s like the spiders are sharing an ancient secret with me, and that’s why I’m going to spend the rest of my life studying spider silk. The next time you see a spider web, please, pause and look a little closer. You’ll be seeing one of the most high-performance materials known to man. To borrow from the writings of a spider named Charlotte, silk is terrific. Thank you. (Applause) (Applause)

Geo Bee 2018 – Full Episode | National Geographic

Geo Bee 2018 – Full Episode | National Geographic


(intense music) – [Narrator] Welcome to
the 30th annual National Geographic Bee, let’s
meet your 10 finalists. From Texas, 13 year old
Nihar Janga is a winner of the 2016 Scripts National Spelling Bee. When he’s not studying
geography, he enjoys playing football and video games with friends. From California, 13 year
old Venkat Ranjan plays the piano and has been
competing in both his school and state bees since 2015. From Arizona, 13 year old
Gayatri Kaimal has been snorkeling in Hawaii, when
she’s back in the lower 48, she loves listening to music and reading. From Ohio, 13 year old
Saket Pochiraju has won the Ohio State Bee three years in a row. He’s also quite the outdoorsman. He loves playing tennis
and exploring nature. From New Jersey 13 year
old Anoushka Buddhikot has been playing violin
since the young age of seven. She’s also an avid reader
and plans on writing a novel about an explorer, from
Massachusetts, 11 year old Atreya Mallanna is
an accomplished athlete. He plays cricket, soccer and swims. From Oregon, 13 year old Ashwin Sivakumar is a composer and birder. He’s even spent time bird
watching while traveling through Costa Rica, from Georgia,
14 year old Vishal Sareddy counts Hawaii among his
coolest destinations and loves playing basketball
and running cross country. From North Carolina, 14
year old Jonathan Song plays golf and is on a
competitive robotics team. When he’s not tearing it up on the course, he loves traveling, he’s
made it all the way to China. And finally from New Hampshire,
14 year old Sean Cheng enjoys speed cubing,
traveling and fishing. A competitor in all areas,
he also loves to play high level soccer, here they are, the 2018 National Geographic Bee finalists. (applause) And now your host, journalist, humorist and Emmy Award winning writer Mo Rocca. (applause) – Well hello everyone I
am thrilled to be back in Washington DC hosting the
National Geographic Bee which turns 30 this year
which means it’s only two years older than I am.
(laughing) This year 2.6 million
students competed in their school Geographic Bees, 54
top geographers from state and US territory earned the
right to compete this week. And after a series of preliminary rounds, 10 extremely worthy finalists
made it to this stage. Today one of these bright
minds will earn a $50,000 scholarship and the title of National Geographic Bee Champion. (applause) Are you ready to begin, let’s get started. The first seven rounds
will focus on US geography. This first round will
require spoken answers only. I’m going to ask each of you
a question about a capital city in the United States,
a photo related to your question will appear on your monitor. You will be asked to name the
city and state that its in. These questions are worth one point. You will have 12 seconds to
answer, students are you ready? They’re ready, here we go. Nihar, we begin with you,
here is the first question. This state capital on the Pearl River was named after a President
of the United States. Name this city and state.
– Jackson, Mississippi. – [Mo] That is correct
for one point, Venkat, home to the Mark Twain
house and museum this state capital is north
of the Long Island sound. Name this city and state.
– Hartford, Connecticut. – [Mo] That is correct,
Gayatri, located in the central valley this state capital
was the western terminus for both the pony express and the first transcontinental railroad,
name this city and state. – Sacramento, California.
– You got it. Saket, this state capital
is northwest of Daniel Boone National Forest and is located
in the Blue Grass region. Name this city and state.
– Frankfurt, Kentucky. – [Mo] That is right,
Anoushka, this state capital is located near both the big
belt mountains and the source of the Missouri River,
name this city and state. – Helena, Montana.
– That is correct. Atreya, founded by the
French, this state capital is located 150 miles upstream
from the Mississippi River Delta, name this city and state. – Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
– That is correct. Ashwin, located on the Hudson
River, this state capital was an active trading post in the 1600s. Name this city and state.
– Albany, New York. – [Mo] You got it, Vishal,
located about 20 miles from the Platte River this state
capital building is topped by a nearly 20 foot statue of a farmer. Name this city and state.
– Lincoln, Nebraska. – [Mo] Lincoln, Nebraska is correct. Jonathan, located on the
eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada, this state capital
experienced a silver rush in the 1850s, name this city and state. – Carson City, Nevada.
– That is right. Sean, this state capital is
east of the Ouachita Mountains and is home to the William J
Clinton Presidential Library. Name this city and state.
– Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. – [Mo] I’m sorry, the answer
was Little Rock, Arkansas. And we are off and running
at the 2018 National Geographic Bee.
(applause) These 10 gifted finalists
are competing for $85,000 in college scholarships, today’s
champion will win 50,000 of it along with a lifetime
membership to the National Geographic Society and a
Lindblad expedition to the Galapagos Islands aboard the
National Geographic Endeavor Two, second place will
earn a $25,000 scholarship and $10,000 goes to the
third place finisher. Sounds pretty good right?
(applause) I’d say so.
(applause) For round two, you’ll use
your stylus and tablets. Everyone answers this next
question at the same time. This question is worth
one point and you’ll have 12 seconds to write your answer. National Parks have been
called America’s greatest idea and yet these and other public
lands face serious threats. National Geographic is
dedicated to furthering our understanding of these
critical eco systems and inspiring action to protect them. Take a look at your monitors. Yellowstone National Park is
a geological and ecological wonder, it was the world’s
first national park and covers nearly 3500 square miles. But it’s eco system is
threatened by activity outside it’s border, while it
is best known for it’s bison, bears and wolves, the park’s
most abundant large mammal is the elk who’s migration
paths reach well beyond Yellowstone’s boundaries
and here is your question. Elk once roamed most the
United States but hunting and loss of habitat
reduced their range to the area of what mountain range that includes Yellowstone National
Park and that stretches from New Mexico to British Columbia. You will have 12 seconds
to write down your answer. (intense music) (bell dinging) Time’s up, let’s see what you wrote. And surprise, surprise,
for one point the correct answer is Rocky Mountains.
(applause) 10 for 10, nicely done. You can now put down your
stylus because round three will require spoken answers only. I’m going to ask each of
you a question that will test your knowledge of revered
places in the United States. When it’s your turn a photo
related to your question will appear on your monitor,
Nihar, we begin with you. Here’s your question,
sacred to many Alaskans, this mountain was known
by the early Athabaskan people as the tall one
and it may have been central to their creation
story, name this mountain. – Mount Denali or Mount McKinley. – [Mo] Well done Denali
is correct for one point. Mount McKinley was also
acceptable, thank you. Venkat, Thornhill Chapel blends
into the surrounding woods giving visitors a sense that
they are seated in the forest itself, the chapel is
located in what physiographic region that covers much of northern Arkansas and southern Missouri? – The Ozark Plateau.
– The Ozark Plateau is correct, Gayatri, Big Sir,
a scenic region along the California coast has long
attracted native Americans, hermits and artists, this
region stretches from Carmel by the sea to San Simeon
along what mountain range? – The Sierra Nevada.
– I’m sorry. We were looking for Santa Lucia. Saket, the city of Nauvoo
attracts visitors due to it’s historic importance
as the home of the Latter Day Saints from 1839 to 1846 before the Great Salt Lake,
Nauvoo is located upstream from Quincy on what river? – The Mississippi River.
– That is correct. Anoushka, this famous gospel
choir performs all over the world sharing the joy
of faith through music. The choir shares its name
with a large neighborhood in upper Manhattan that is a
center of African American culture, name this neighborhood. – Harlem.
– Harlem is correct. Atreya, ceremonial
chambers called kivas were a feature of pre Columbian
structures in North America. Built by the ancestral Puebloans, Kivas can be found in what canyon
that shares it’s name with a national historical park
in northwestern New Mexico? – Choco Canyon.
– Choco Canyon is correct. Ashwin, each year Marti
gras celebrations draw thousands of revelers to
public spaces throughout New Orleans including Bourbon
Street and Jackson Square. In what district that
is the city’s oldest? – French Quarter.
– French Quarter is correct. Vishal, formed by the
eruption of Mount Mazama 7,000 years ago, this
lake in Oregon was held sacred by the local
Klamouth people and is the main feature of a national
park, name this lake. – Crater Lake.
– Crater Lake is correct. Jonathan, Mission Concepcion built in 1755 was one of several Spanish
missions established to protect borders from French encroachment and to convert Native
Americans to Catholicism. These missions are near
what river that shares its name with a large Texas City? – The San Antonio River.
– That is correct. Sean, Native Americans
in North Central Wyoming have long used this stone
medicine wheel for ceremonies and to predict astronomical events. This sacred site is a
national landmark in what mountain range that is the
source of the Powder River? – The Apsoroca Range.
– I’m sorry. We were looking for Big Horn Mountains. Three rounds down, four more to go before we say goodbye to the students
with the four lowest scores. But with eight points up for grabs, it’s still anyone’s game,
now before we dive back into competition, let’s get
to know a little bit more about our 10 fine finalists. Nihar, let’s begin with you. You are also the winner of the 2016 Strips National Spelling Bee,
that is very impressive. Can you spell my first name? (laughing) In French?
– M-O. – I’m sorry, it’s M-E-A-U.
(laughing) We’ll settle it later with the score. Venkat Ranjan, you are from
San Ramone, California. Give me a fun fact about San Ramone like maybe a point of interest. What’s the best thing about it? – The headquarters of
the oil company Chevron. That’s all we have.
(laughing) – Little company that you
plan on taking over maybe once you leave here and it’s
a great place to live, right? – Yeah.
– Okay. He’s gonna work for the
Chamber of Commerce. (laughing) Gayatri, it says here that
you went snorkeling in Hawaii and had a family of dolphins
swim right next to the boat. How could you tell they were a family? – Well, that’s what the
tour guide said, so. (laughing) – I’m sorry, what’s that?
– That’s what the tour guide said.
– I know. But they could’ve been
friends just hanging out. Was it exciting, was it exciting? – Yeah.
(laughing) – Alright excellent. Saket, you are from Ohio
and you won the Ohio State Geo Bee three years in a row, were all the questions about Ohio? – No.
(laughing) – Oh okay, right, well do
you know that old sound. ♪ Round on the end and
high in the middle, Ohio ♪ (laughing) You have to be 49 or older to get that. Oops, I gave it away,
Anoushka, it says here this is really cool, that
you enjoy reading fiction and plan on writing a
book about an explorer. Which explorer are you interested in? – I think everything the
Renaissance and all the explorers coming to the new world. That’s something that’s
really interested me. So I think that’s an
interesting story concept. – Okay, interesting, alright. And you’ve played the violin for how long? – Six or seven years.
– Six or seven years. And how was it balancing studying for this and playing the violin or did
one help the other in a way? – It’s a really good break a lot of time. If I’m studying and I’m
just not remembering stuff. Then it’s something I’ll just
go and do, play for an hour and then I’ll be able to retain much more information that way. – Right, I love that she blows
off steam by studying the violin, I’m like, how low do I feel? That’s very impressive,
just gonna mess around. Get off that violin, come
on, you’re wasting time. (laughing) Alright, Atreya, you are
the youngest one here. How does that feel, you’re in fifth grade. – It feels good to be the youngest one. Like I have nothing to lose.
(laughing) (applause) – You got time, you’re gonna survive all of these people here. You got years ahead of you, right? But that’s a good point,
you can just, right, really just have fun because
you’ve got years to go with this eligibility.
– Yeah. – And you really are just
11, this is not a rouse. – Yeah, I’m 11.
– Okay. Alright Ashwin, this
is the second time I’ve moderated with you up here,
you were here two years ago. What happened last year, no, I’m kidding. (laughing) No it’s very very impressive
that you’re here twice. Now you were just recently
traveling through Costa Rica. Tell us about that.
– Well it’s really cool ’cause unlike other
countries in Latin America, Costa Rica has really
taken a lot of efforts to preserve it’s biodiversity
so we got to travel through a lot of really pristine
rainforests and natural environments that don’t
really exist anymore anywhere else in Latin America so that was pretty incredible. – Well that’s wonderful
and there’s, I think, an election coming up in Costa Rica and he should be on the ballet. Vishal, you are from Georgia. Georgia has a lot of great crops. So I have to ask you the
questions, peanuts or peaches. – Peaches.
– Peaches. That is correct for an extra point. It’s a wonderful state
though, a beautiful state. – Alright, Jonathan, from
North Carolina, Jonathan Song, you were on a robotics team
that competes in the first tech challenge, what is that? – Well it’s like, you make
these like mini robots. It’s not the full size
ones but they compete on a field and they do missions and stuff. – When you eventually
create your own robot, what is your priority,
what is the one thing you want your robot to be able to
do if it could do anything? – Cook for me.
(laughing) – And I’m guessing Jonathan’s
parents feel the same way. (laughing) Alright Sean Chang from New Hampshire. Your hobbies include speed
cubing and at first when I read it I thought it was speed clubbing and I thought you’re a
little young for that. What is speed cubing? – It’s just solving Rubix
Cubes as fast as you can. – [Mo] Is it specifically Rubix cubes? – There’s different size ones
like the traditional ones, like a three by three but
there’s different sizes. – And how fast can you do
an old fashioned Rubix cube? – My best competition
time is 9.29 seconds. – 9.2 seconds?
– Yeah. – Oh my gosh, that’s, wow. That’s how long it takes
me to make the first turn. Oh and I read, do you know what the state fruit of New Hampshire is?
– No. – Alright well it’s in the
final round, no, I’m kidding. It’s a pumpkin, I thought
that that was kinda cute and confusing because I
thought a pumpkin was just a decoration or maybe a
vegetable, alright and let’s give a shout out to
our other 44 finalists. These brilliant students.
(applause) And now back to our competition. For round four, you’ll
need your stylus again because everyone answers this
question at the same time. This question is worth one point. The National Geographic
Society is committed to exploring and protecting
our planet and supporting bold individuals who are
pushing the boundaries of knowledge, take a look at your monitors. Daniella Kavachi is a biologist
and National Geographic young explorer, as a
child in Mexico, she was attracted to strange and
misunderstood animals like spiders and snakes,
today she is fortunate to work with one of the most
mysterious creatures, bats. Daniella’s current project
is to identify and preserve bat species in archeological zones. So at night, she spends
time inside pyramids looking for these beautiful animals. And here is your question,
some female lesser long nosed bats migrate to the
United States to roost in a National monument that borders Mexico. These bats are the primary
pollinators of a species of cactus that gave it’s
name to the monument. What is the name of this cactus? You will have 12 seconds
to write down your answer. (intense music) (bell dings) Time’s up, let’s see what everyone wrote. For one point the correct
answer is Organ Pipe. Okay so let’s see how everyone did. Three of you had the correct answer. That was a nail biter there. We’ve come to the first Geo
Challenge of the competition. We’ll be testing you not
just on what you know but how well you know
it, each of you will be presented with a different
map of the continuous United States and two choices
for what the map is showing. You will have 10 seconds
to tell us your answer. If you are correct, you will
receive one point and the opportunity to explain why
for a possible two additional points, we will give you a
few moments to think about your response and when
the bell rings, you’ll have 20 seconds in which to
complete your explanation. A panel of judges will
determine if your explanation is strong enough to earn the
additional two points. When it’s your turn, take
a look at your monitor. Ready, Nihar, take a look at your map. Does this map show vegetation
zones or average wind speeds? – This map is showing vegetation zones. – [Mo] I’m sorry, the correct
answer is average wind speeds so unfortunately you don’t get any points. Venkat, take a look at your map. Does this map show irrigated
land or peach production? – This map shows irrigated land. – That is correct for one point, for two additional points tell us
why this answer is correct. – This map is showing
irrigated land because areas that do not naturally
receive a lot of water that support farming are
shown in the map like the Central Valley of California
and the Snake River Valley of Idaho, this map cannot
be a peach production map because most peaches
are grown in the south especially in Georgia.
– Alright. And we’re gonna give the
judges a moment to confer. And the judges are quite
satisfied with your answer so two additional points for you. Gayatri, take a look at your map. Does this map show percent of federal land or miles driven per capita? – This map shows miles driven per capita. – That is correct for one
point, for two additional points tell us why this answer is correct. – Had this map shown
percent of federal land, places like Arizona and
New Mexico with lots of land owned federally by
the government would’ve had a higher shading, this map
shows miles driven per capita because open places like
Wyoming and Montana have. (bell dings) – We’ll give the judges
a moment to confer. And you just got those
two additional points for your answer for your explanation. Saket, does your map
show average minimum wage or ferry boat boardings by state? – This map shows average minimum wage. – [Mo] I’m sorry that is incorrect. The correct answer is ferry
boat boardings by state. So no points for you,
Anoushka, does your map show pesticide use or number of dairy cows? – This map shows pesticide use. – Pesticide use is correct,
you earned one point. For two additional points, tell us why this answer is correct. – This map shows pesticide
use because the highest concentrations are in
great plains and along the Mississippi River where a
lot of pesticides are used in farming, if this map was
showing number of dairy cows, there would be a much
higher concentration in Wisconsin and Texas.
– We’ll give the judges a moment to confer. And Anoushka, they like your answer. Two additional points for you. – Atreya, take a look at your map. Tell us, does it show percent
homeless or literacy rate? – Literacy rate.
– I’m sorry Atreya. The correct answer is percent homeless. Ashwin, does your map show
the range of the black bear or the range of the Ponderosa Pine? – Range of the Ponderosa Pine.
– That is correct. And for one point, for
two additional points, tell us why this answer is correct. – This map shows range
of the Ponderosa Pine ’cause all of the coloring is
in the Western United States where the range of the Ponderosa Pine is in the interior west, it
doesn’t show black bears because black bears are also found in the eastern United States.
– Judges, what say you? The judges like that answer,
two additional points for Ashwin, Vishal, does your
map show number of days with freezing temperatures
or average annual snowfall? – Average annual snowfall?
– It is average annual snowfall for one point,
for two additional points, tell us why your answer is correct. – This map shows average
annual snowfall because areas such as the Colorado
Rockies and the Sierra Nevada have a high concentration on this map. And this map does not
show freezing temperatures because there would be
a higher concentration such as north, like western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee where they would be. (bell dings) – And the judges approve
of Vishal’s explanation for two additional points. Jonathan, take a look at your map. Does this map show public
libraries or golf courses? – Public libraries.
– Public libraries is correct, you earned one point. For two additional points, tell us why this answer is correct.
– This map shows public libraries because
the higher concentration on this map is in the cities
where the majority of public libraries are located, it
doesn’t show golf courses because golf courses can
also be found in rural and suburban areas.
– Judges. The judges like that answer, two additional points to Jonathan. Sean, does your map
show Superfund hazardous waste sites or four year colleges? – Four year colleges.
– I’m sorry the correct answer was Superfund
hazardous waste sites. And that concludes the
first Geo Challenge round. Five rounds down and two more to go before our first four eliminations. There are four points up for grabs over the next two rounds, you’ll
need your stylus again in round six, we’ll be hearing
from a National Geographic explorer, take a look at your monitors. – Hi, I’m Courtney Borgerson,
I am an anthropologist, a conservation biologist and a
National Geographic explorer. You’ll often find me in
Madagascar where I study eco system balance and
the illegal hunting of endangered lemurs but I’m also
passionate about education and I visit classrooms in the
US to teach students about scientific inquiry right
in their own backyards. Now here’s your question,
one of my first experiences with science was a school
field trip to a US island that is home to the world’s
longest running predator prey study, this lake island
is now overpopulated with moose and scientists want
to bring the island back into ecological balance by
repopulating it with wolves. Name this lake island which
is also a national park. – You’ll have 12 seconds
to write down your answer. (bell dings) Time’s up, let’s see what everyone wrote. For one point, the correct
answer is, all together now Isle Royale.
(applause) Now let’s take a moment
to review the scores before our next round, Ashwin is in front and there is a five way
tie, Venkat, Gayatri, Anoushka, Vishal and
Jonathan right behind there. Okay after this round,
the four students with the lowest scores will leave us
but there are still three points up for grabs for each student. In round seven, the aptly
named lightning round. Here’s how it works, I’ll
give you each, I’ll give each of you three questions
in a row and you’ll have six seconds to answer each. One point is awarded for
each correct response. Get ready, this one moves like. – Lightning.
– Like lightning. – Like lightning, I’ll
work on my delivery, okay. Here we go, Nihar, what
is the name of the largest swamp on the border of
Virginia and North Carolina? – The Great Dismal Swamp.
– That is correct. And again Nihar, Wayamaya
Canyon is located on which Hawaiian island?
– Kawaii. – [Mo] That is correct, name the state reptile of Mississippi. – Alligator.
– The American Alligator, that is correct,
Venkat, name the oldest existing National Park east
of the Mississippi River? – Acadia.
– That is correct. Again Venkat, name the widest falls section at Niagara Falls? – Horseshoe Falls.
– Horseshoe Falls is correct, settlers in Oklahoma
who started the land rush early inspired what
nickname for the state. – The sooner state.
– That is correct. Gayatri, what large city
in eastern Tennessee was the state’s first capital? – Memphis.
– I’m sorry. The answer is Knoxville, again Gayatri. Providence, Rhode Island is located at the head of what bay?
– The Naragazit Bay. – [Mo] That is correct,
what is Washington state’s most valuable food crop
in terms of total revenue? – Apples.
– Apples is correct. Saket, name the highest
mountain peak in Vermont. – Mount Mansfield.
– That is correct. What is the largest
island of American Samoa. – Tutuila.
– Tutuila is correct. What fruit is on the standard
Florida license plate? – An orange.
– An orange is correct. Anoushka, name the rift lake
on the San Andreas fault that is the largest lake in California. – The Salton Sea.
– Salton Sea is correct. Name the sub range of
the Rocky Mountains that marks the western border of Montana. – The Bitterroot Range.
– That is right. What two and a half mile
walking route in Boston, Massachusetts connects 16 historic sites? – The freedom trail.
– The freedom trail is correct, Atreya, name the
largest city on Colorado’s Kaushalya River?
– Fort Collins. – [Mo] Fort Collins is correct. Name the group of islands
in northern Wisconsin that make up part of a national lake shore? – Apostle Islands.
– You got it. What gift from France
is pictured on the state quarter of New York?
– Statue of Liberty. – [Mo] Statue of Liberty is correct. Ashwin, name the largest lake in Alaska? – Lake Iliamna.
– That is correct. What river forms most of the border between Texas and Louisiana? – The Sabine River.
– The Sabine River is correct, what is the official
dance of the state of Hawaii? – Hula.
– Hula is correct. Vishal, what bay is the
sunken estuary of the Susquehanna River?
– Chesapeake Bay. – [Mo] That is correct,
name the largest city on the Kiahoga River.
– Cleveland. – [Mo] Cleveland is correct,
what is the popular name for the group of stars depicted
on Alaska’s state flag? – The Big Dipper.
– The Big Dipper is right. Jonathan, name the highest
mountain peak in California. – Mount Whitney.
– You got it. Name the capital of Guam. – Could you repeat?
– Name the capital of Guam. – Agana.
– That is acceptable, yes. Hagotnia or Agana, that’s correct. What is the official
crustacean of Louisiana? – The crawfish.
– That is correct. Sean, what North Carolina city is located at the Confluence of a Swananoa River and the French Broad River? – Charlotte.
– I’m sorry. The answer is Ashville,
name the largest lake in Maine which is the source
of the Kenebeck River. – Moosehead Lake.
– That is correct. In 1812, soldiers from
Tennessee inspired what nickname for the state?
– The volunteer state. – [Mo] The Volunteer state is correct. (applause) That deserves a round
of applause, I’m winded. (applause) Now we have reached the
conclusion of part one of the competition and we
now have the tough task of saying goodbye to Atreya,
Nihar, Saket and Sean. A huge round of applause,
valent competitors here. (applause) One of these six students
will be named the 30th champion of the
National Geographic Bee. Remember, there’s a lot on
the line for these finalists including $85,000 in scholarship money. Now you may not know this or maybe you do but I love geography and
we thought it would be fun to turn the tables and
have the students quiz me on their home states so
hit me with your best shot. We’ll start up here, Venkat. – Name the smallest county
by area in California. (laughing) – Ya know, I bet, I bet,
there’s a whole lot of people packed in there, I
bet it’s Los Angeles county. – No.
– Alright, then I bet. Well it’s not orange county. I bet it’s, is San
Francisco it’s own county? – Yes.
– So it’s the San Francisco county.
– Good job. – What’s that?
– Good job. – Okay, alright, well I sorta got that. (laughing) Okay, how small is it?
– I don’t know, just small. – Well, we’re even then, Gayatri. – What is the Indian reservation located inside of an Indian reservation? – An Indian reservation inside
of an Indian Reservation, so an Indian reservation inside, oh, it’s the Turducken nation.
(laughing) If you don’t say I’m
wrong, then I’m right. (laughing) What is it called?
– Do you want the answer? (laughing) – Well I mean, at this point, I think we might as well resolve it. – Okay, it’s the Hopi.
– The Hopi. What are they inside of?
– The Navajo. – Oh my god, that must be so suffocating. (laughing) Well you learn something every day you moderate the National Geographic Bee. Anoushka, I love New
Jersey and just before you ask me anything, I just
want everyone to know that New Jersey has the most diners in America. And that is true. – This one’s really hard, okay? What’s the highest point in New Jersey? – What’s the highest point in, what’s the highest, the
highest point in New Jersey? It’s not Trenton, it’s, Newark, is there, there’s gotta be a mountain in New Jersey. Mount Soprano.
(laughing) What is it?
– It’s called High Point. (laughing) – That is such a dad joke.
(laughing) After the explorer book,
you’ve gotta write a book of one liners, that’s great, I like that. I love New Jersey, New
Jersey also has the most scientists and engineers per square mile. (laughing)
Okay, Ashwin. – Name the western most point in Oregon. – The what?
– The western most point. – Oh, the Pacific Ocean.
– That’s. – No, the western most point, is there, I once went to Pacific City, Oregon. I’m sure there’s some
dude from Portland who has a house boats that’s
drifted out to sea so far he forgot where he was. – I was thinking of Cape Blanco but you were actually
correct at Pacific Ocean. – Thank god, I know
how to game the system. I should be there, Vishal,
ask me about Georgia. – The University of Georgia is located in which city Northeast of Atlanta. – Athens.
– Yeah. – This is the way it should go every time. (laughing) Jonathan, as me about North,
I love North Carolina. I spent two summers in Winston Salem. – What city was created in 1913 by the merging of two major tobacco towns? – Winston Salem.
– Yeah. (laughing) – Wow.
(applause) And now back to the game.
(applause) From this part of the competition on, we’re going global, questions
are now worth two points. And after six more rounds,
the three remaining students with the lowest scores will be eliminated. Let’s move on to round eight. This round will require
spoken answers only. I’m gonna give you each a
question to test your knowledge and recognition of national capitals. When it’s your turn, a photo
related to your question will appear on your
monitor, you will have 12 seconds to answer beginning with Venkat. Once a viking settlement,
this capital city is located on the east coast of an
island where the river Liffey enters the sea, name this city. – Dublin.
– Dublin is correct. Gayatri, this capital city
is home to the Grand Palace which was once the official
residence of the Kings of Siam, name this city. – Bangkok.
– Bangkok is correct. Anoushka, in 2011 Tahrir
Square was the focal point of a revolution in a capital
city, name this city which is located between
the ruins of the ancient city of Memphis and one of the
world’s major river deltas. – Kyro.
– Kyro is correct. Ashwin, southwest of the
highest point in the Andies Mountains, the capital
city is located on the Mapocho River in a geological
zone prone to earthquakes. Name this city.
– Santiago. – [Mo] Santiago is correct. Vishal, founded by the
Spanish, this capital city was supported by Soviet Subsidies
for much of the second half of the 20th century,
name this city located along the Straits of Florida.
– Havana. – [Mo] Havana is correct. Jonathan, this capital city
is located northwest of the Cyclades on a peninsula
that borders the Aegean Sea. Name this city which was
once a powerful city state. – Athens.
– Athens is correct. No time to waste, let’s
get right to round nine. For this next question, you’ll
need your stylus once again. We have another special guest,
take a look at your monitors. – Hi, I’m Grace Cowart
Young, an ocean engineer, Aquanaut and National
Geographic emerging explorer. I’ve lived at the bottom of
the ocean in the Florida Keys, sailed across the Atlantic
Ocean and I’ve worked with NASA to create 3D maps of astroids. Right now I’m worked to
refurbish a submarine in Kansas of all places, my great
passion though is connecting art with science, for example,
by creating 3D maps of coral reefs and dancing underwater. Now here’s your question, my
research has taken me to the coral reefs off the island of Utila. Utila is the western most
island of what arapeligo off the coast of Honduras. – You’ll have 12 seconds
to write down your answer. (bell dings) Time’s up, let’s see what everyone wrote. For two points, the correct
answer is Bay Islands. Let’s see how you did, three
of you had the correct answer. Students please keep your
stylus out for this next video question, this year National Geographic, the Audubon Society,
Bird Life International and Cornell Lab of Ornithology
are joining with nature lovers around the world to
celebrate the year of the bird. Birds symbolize nature’s
interconnectedness and our next special guest
is raising awareness of the importance of protecting
birds in a changing world. Once again, take a look at your monitors. – Hi, I’m Washington Washira,
I’m a wildlife conservationist and a National Geographic explorer. Now here is your question,
African crowned Eagles can be found in forests in a capital city near the Athy River, name this city which is sometimes called the
grain city in the sand. – You have 12 seconds to
write down your answer. (bell dings) Time’s up, let’s see what everyone wrote. For another two points, the
correct answer is Nairobi. Back row there all had it correct. In this next round, I’m
going to give each of you a question inspired by the
National Geographic channel series called one strange
rock which explores the fragility and wonder of planet earth. A photo related to your
question will appear on your monitory, you’ll have
12 seconds to answer. Venkat, in northern Quebec,
the Pingualuit Crater is an example of how Meteorites
have shaped our planet. Pingualuit Crater is located on what large peninsula south of the Hudson Strait? – The Ungava Peninsula.
– The Ungava Peninsula is correct, Gayatri,
the convergence of three tectonic plates created this depression where the ground spits acid. Located in the northern
part of the Afar region on the horn of Africa, what is
the name of this feature? – The Danakil Depression.
– The Danakil Depression is correct, Anoushka, around
the world waters is temporarily harnessed by tens
of thousands of large dams such as the Xiaolangdi
Dam in Hanon Province. The Xiaolangdi Dam is
located on what river north of the Qin Ling mountains? – The Yellow River.
– The Yellow River is correct. Ashwin, millions of years
ago, super volcanoes set off an extinction event that
killed most of life on earth. Protected in its underground
burrows, a reptile called Thrinaxodon survived,
fossils of this species have been found near
what river that rises in the Lesotho Highlands and
flow through Upington? – The Orange River.
– The orange river is correct. Vishal, covering over
5% of earth’s land mass, lichens such as these in
Ontario break down rocks, generate oxygen and absorb pollution. These islands can be found in what bay east of the Bruce Peninsula? – The Georgian Bay.
– The Georgian Bay is correct. Jonathan, on the Togian
Islands in the Gulf of Tomini most children learn to
swim before they can walk. The Gulf of Tomini is one
of three gulfs that define the unique shape of which of
the Greater Sunda Islands? – Sulawessy.
– Sulawessy is correct. For this next question,
you’ll need your stylus again for a question from a
special repeat guest who visited us last year from Kositchstan. Take a look at your monitors. – Hello, my name is Paul
Selapeck and I’m a journalist and National Geographic
fellow and I’m 1500 miles further along on my 21,000
mile Out of Eden Walk. I’m following the pathways
of our ancestors who migrated out of Africa
60,000 years ago writing about topics such as
climate change to migration to technological innovation
and you can follow along on this 10 year journey at
www.outofedenwalk.org. Now here’s your question,
soon my walk will take me to a city in India renowned
for it’s architecture and urban design, it was declared
a union territory in 1966 and serves as the joint capital
of two neighboring states. Name this city. – You will have 12 seconds
to write down your answer. (bell dings) Time’s up, let’s see what everyone wrote. For two points, the correct
answer is Chundagar. Let’s see how you all did,
four of you had it right. 12 rounds down and one more
to go before we have to say goodbye to the three
students with the lowest scores. So let’s take a look at
the current standings. Venkat and Anoushka are
tied in first place. Vishal is not far behind,
six points though are still up for grabs in our second
and final lightning round. Once again, when it’s your
turn you’ll be asked three questions in a row and have
six seconds to answer each. This time you’ll receive
two points for each correct response, a lot at stake,
there’s a lot of room to make up ground, kids, okay. Students, are you ready,
Venkat, name the largest of the Baliaric Islands.
– Mayourka. – [Mo] Mayourka is correct,
the Sawine River flows into the gulf of Martaban
before entering what sea? This is for you Venkat.
– The Ondomon Sea. – [Mo] That is correct. What religion is
practiced by a majority of people in Mongolia?
– Buddhism. – [Mo] Buddhism is correct,
Gayatri, the far east of Bolivia is part of what
large tropical wet land? – The Grand Chako.
– I’m sorry. The answer is the Pontinal,
name Sweden’s largest island. – Gotland.
– Gotland is correct. What is the official
working language of the federal government of Ethiopia? – Umharic.
– Umharic is correct. Anoushka, what channel
connects bath and bay with the Boford sea?
– The Perry Channel. – [Mo] Perry Channel is correct. What is the name of the highest
mountain peak in Algeria? – Mount Tahop.
– You got it. What is the predominant
religion of Marishis? – Hinduism.
– Hinduism is correct. Ashwin, what large salt
water lake is located just west of Tabris, Iran? – Lake Ormia.
– Lake Ormia’s correct. Name the gulf on the
southern coast of Honduras. – Gulf of Fansica.
– Gulf of Fansica’s correct. What is the official
language of Mozambique? – Portuguese.
– Portuguese is correct. Vishal, name the southern
most state of Mexico. – Wahaka.
– The answer, I’m sorry, is Chiopas,
what man made lake spans one third of the border
of Zambia and Zimbabwe? – Lake Curiba.
– Lake Curiba’s correct. What is the official currency of Denmark. – The Chrone.
– The Chrone is correct. Jonathan, what channel
south of the Irish Sea separates whales from Ireland? The answer is Saint Georgia’s Channel. Matsayama is the largest
city on what major Japanese island?
– Checoku. – [Mo] Checoku is correct. What is the official language of Andora? – Catalan.
– Catalan is correct. Alright the time has come to
bid farewell to half of the students on stage, let’s
take a look at the scores. We must say goodbye now to
Gayatri, Ashwin and Jonathan. A huge round of applause
making it this far. (applause) Here they are, the final three. (applause and cheering) Each of these three finalist
has now won at least a $10,000 scholarship so big
congratulations to each of you. You’ve already won big.
(applause) Next we get one step closer
to crowning our champion as these three students square off in the final Geo Challenge Round. – [Narrator] To learn more
about how your school can participate in the 2019
National Geographic Bee, visit our website,
natgeobee.org for details and instructions on how to get started. Maybe we’ll see a student
from your home town here next year.
(applause) – We’re ready to continue
with the 30th National Geographic Bee, our three
finalists are sequestered back stage where they can
neither see nor hear anything happening on stage, in this
next Geo Challenge round we’ll bring them out one
by one to test ’em not just on what they know but
how well they can apply and communicate that knowledge. Each student will answer
the same question which poses a real world scenario
and they’ll be given three possible answers
from which to choose. Our panel of judges of will
score their responses based on three criteria, accuracy,
reasoning and presentation. Each year millions of tons
of plastic waste end up in the oceans threatening everything
that depends on earth’s largest eco system, National
Geographic has begun a multi year effort to raise awareness
and help find solutions to this crisis, our three
finalists will be asked to identify a location for
an ongoing clean up effort to recover plastics from a local river. The goal is to reduce the
amount of plastic that leeches the ocean, the students much tell us which river is the best location and why. The students must focus
their effort at the Mouth of one of three rivers, the
Niger river, the Rhine river or the Yangtze River,
they must factor in the area’s population, plastic consumption and plastic waste management. The Yangtze river is the
best choice because of the high population and high
plastic consumption in the Yangtze river basin, it’s
also a rapidly growing area with overwhelmed waste management. The Niger river would be
the second best choice. The region has less population
and plastic consumption than that of the Yangtze though it’s waste management is also strained. The Rhine river is the weakest
choice for the clean up effort, it has the lowest
population and while it has high per capita plastic consumption, it has the strongest
existing waste management. The students must choice the
answer that best fits the scenario and explain their reasoning. We will give each of them
a moment to think about it. But once the bell rings, they’ll
have 45 seconds to respond. If he or she falls silent
for more than five seconds, their time will be up. This question is worth
a whopping nine points. So this is a game making
or game breaking moment for our finalists, the students
have been briefed on these rules but obviously not the question. And remember this is not
just about right or wrong. This is also about reasoning,
the quality of presentation. We begin with the student
currently in third place. Vishal, please come on out
on stage to be the first to answer this Geo Challenge. (applause) I’m gonna ask you to take
right front and center. Vishal, here is the question. Each year millions of tons of plastic debris ends up in the oceans,
much of it from rivers. Your goal is to help reduce the amount of plastic that reaches
the oceans by organizing a clean up effort to remove
plastic from a major river. You can focus your
clean up effort near the mouth of one of three
rivers, the Niger river, the Rhine river or the Yangzke river based on the criteria of population, plastic consumption and plastic waste management, on which river would your clean up effort have the greatest impact? You will have 15 seconds to think about your answer. When the
bell rings, please begin. (bell dings) – I would focus my clean up
effort on the Yangzke River because first of all, the
Yangzke river has a really great population with cities
such as Shanghi and Nanging. Second of all, there’s a lot
of plastic consumption with China having one of the most
plastic consuming countries in the world and China doesn’t
have the best plastic waste management so a clean up would really help to clean up the plastic
on the Yangzke river. The Niger river on the other
hand, does not have as much plastic consumption as the
Yangzke and the Rhine River is really good with
plastic waste management and doesn’t consume average
plastic as the Yangzke river. For these reasons I would
choose the Yangzke river for my clean up efforts.
– A round of applause for Vishal, nice done, so come
back here if you would. (applause) And I’m gonna ask you to stand
like right in here, okay. Alright, now let’s bring
out Anoushka, okay. Anoushka, come on out.
(applause) I’m gonna ask you to stand
front and center there. Anoushka here is the question. Each year millions of tons
of plastic debris ends up in the oceans, much of it from rivers. Your goal is to help reduce the amount of plastic that reaches
the oceans by organizing a clean up effort to remove
plastic from a major river. You can focus your clean
up effort near the mouth of one of three rivers, the
Niger river, the Rhine river or the Yangzke river based on
the criteria of population, plastic consumption and
plastic waste management, on which river would your clean up effort have the greatest impact? You will have 15 seconds
to think about your answer. When the bell rings, please begin. (bell dings) – I would choose the Yangzke
river to focus a clean up effort on, the Yangzke river
flows, the mouth of the Yangzke river is at Shanghi which
is a major city in China. Between the many people in
the city, there is a lot of plastic waste that occurs
and China is often considered one of the most populated,
populated and polluted places in the world, on the other
hand, the Rhine river mouth is in the Netherlands where
there is a stable clean up system already in place and
a much smaller population. Along the Niger river there
is also less plastic waste being used, for these reasons
I would choose the Yangzke river to focus a clean
up effort on, thank you. (applause) – Anoushka, I’m gonna ask
you to come back here please and stand to the left of Venkat, perfect. Alright, and now let’s bring out Venkat. (applause) Venkat, if you wanna stand
right front and center there. Here’s the question. Each year millions of tons
of plastic debris ends up in the oceans, much of it from rivers. Your goal is to help reduce
the amount of plastic that reaches the oceans
by organizing a clean up effort to remove plastic
from a major river. You can focus your clean
up effort near the mouth of one of three rivers, the
Niger river, the Rhine river or the Yangzke river based on
the criteria of population, plastic consumption and
plastic waste management, on which river would your clean up effort have the greatest impact? You will have 15 seconds
to think about your answer. When the bell rings, please begin. (bell dings) – I believe that the Yangzke
river is the best river to focus my plastic clean up effort on. This is because tens of
millions of people live on the Yangzke river today and
they produce a lot of plastic as the Yangzke river in China
has a huge manufacturing industry that produces
a lot of plastic waste. Also the China does not
have a very good waste management program, unlike
the Rhine River in Europe and the Rhine River is
not a good choice because even though it produces a lot of plastic, as I said before, it has good
plastic waste management. The Niger river is not a
good choice because not too many people live along
it’s banks and it has very low plastic consumption, that is why. (bell dings)
(applause) Okay, I’m gonna ask the two
of you to come with me please. If you would Venkat, stand to the left and Vishal all the way on the
right and Anoushka in between, the order in which you came out. Great job by all of our finalists. (applause) Now our judges will take
a few moments to confer. (intense music) The judges have tabulated the
scores for this Geo Challenge and are ready to share the results. Judges, we’ll start with Vishal. – Hi Vishal, you responded
with the Yangzke River which was the best choice, you
gave great supporting facts for all the criteria we
were looking for including mentioning Shaghi and
Naching, your excellent presentation was also very
well organized and had an excellent progression as well. We gave you eight points. – And that gives Vishal
a total now of 30 points. And we move on to Anoushka now. – Anoushka, you also
mentioned the Yangzke river which is what we were looking for. You had good facts to
support all of the criteria and contrasted the weaker
choices against the best answer. Your presentation was
very very clear but it did feel a little rushed, we
gave you seven points. – And that gives Anoushka
a total of 33 points. And finally Venkat.
– Venkat, you also mentioned the Yangzke river. You had excellent details
and a more complete explanation to support your
choice including mentioning the industrial base of the Yangzke basin. Your presentation was
effective but overall could’ve been smoother,
we gave you eight points. – That gives Venkat a total of 34. Tremendous job by all,
that was a real nail biter. (applause) And after tabulating the
scores, we must say goodbye to Vishal but don’t forget
you’re still leaving here a winner, there’s a $10,000
scholarship with your name on it. (applause) A big congratulations to
you for making it this far. (applause) And then there were two, Anoushka
Buddhikot from New Jersey and Venkat Ranjan from California. (applause and cheering) We are gonna get set
up for the final round and when we return, one
of these gifted students will become the 2018 National
Geographic Bee Champion. (applause) – [Narrator] There is a lot on
the line for these students. The Champion will receive a
$50,000 scholarship plus a lifetime membership to the
National Geographic Society and a Lindblad Expedition
to the Galapagos Islands aboard the National
Geographic Endeavor Two. Now back to Mo Rocca. – Welcome to the Championship
Round of the 30th National Geographic Bee,
out of 2.6 million students, 54 of the country’s brightest
young geographers made it here to Washington DC, the
top 10 earned their place to compete today, now we’re down to two. 13 year old Venkat Ranjan from California and 13 year old Anoushka
Buddhikot from New Jersey. Congratulations on to you
both on making it this far. (applause) So Venkat, what would it mean
to you to win this thing? – That would be good.
(laughing) – Be good, you’re underplaying
it right now, right? – Maybe.
– I get it, okay. – Anoushka, how long have
you prepared for this moment? – I’ve been participating
in the National Geographic Bees since I was in fourth grade. – Since the fourth
grade, nine or 10 years, eight or nine years old, right? Excellent, okay, well you’ve
come a long way, both of you. And now it’s time to get down to business. Here’s how it’s going to work. You each begin this final
round with a clean slate. The Championship round
is single elimination. You will both be asked the
same question at the same time. The contestant who correctly
answers the question that the other contestant
misses will be named our National Champion,
so watch closely because every question could be
the winning question. You’re gonna need your
stylus for this final round. I will read each question
twice so listen carefully before answering, you’ll
then have 12 seconds to write your responses, for the final time, students, are you ready? They’re ready, here is your question. Name the small southeast
Asian country that has a northern coastline on the
Wetar and Ombai Straits. I repeat Name the small
southeast Asian country that has a northern coastline on
the Wetar and Ombai Straits. (intense music)
(bell dings) Venkat, what do you have?
– East Timor. – Anoushka.
– Timor Leste. The correct answer is Timor
Leste, also east Timor. So you are both correct.
(applause) And we like variety, okay,
onto the next question. Lebanon has a population most similar to which South American country? I repeat Lebanon has a population most similar to which
South American country? (bell dings) Venkat, what do you have?
– Paraguay. – Anoushka.
– Guyana. – Two different answers, I
can tell you now that one is correct so we’re
about to learn who is the 2018 National Geographic Bee Champion. The correct answer is
Paraguay, so Venkat Ranjan is the 2018 National Geographic Bee. (intense music)
(applause) – Congratulations.
– Congratulations. (applause and cheering) – [Narrator] A dramatic end
to a terrific competition. Here’s how our 10 finalists
officially finished. And remember each of these
students outlasted millions of others around the country
to make it to Washington DC and end up on this stage. – And now to award the metals
to our top three finishers, please welcome Mike
Ulaka, interim President and CEO of the National Geographic
Society, thank you, Mike. (applause) Finishing in third place
and winner of a $10,000 scholarship, Vishal Sareddy from Georgia. (applause) Wonderful job, wonderful. Our runner up and winner
of a $25,000 scholarship, Anoushka Buddhikot from New Jersey. (applause) Congratulations again, wonderful. And the winner of a $50,000 scholarship, a lifetime membership to the
National Geographic Society and a trip for two on
a Lindblad expedition to Galapagos Islands aboard
the National Geographic Endeavor Two, the 2018
National Geographic Champion Venkat Ranjan from California. (applause)
(intense music) Thank you Mike and I’m
gonna step over here. And Venkat, I’ve gotta ask
you what was going through your mind on that last
question about population of Lebanon being similar,
most similar to which South American country.
– I don’t know this so I’m gonna have to guess something. – So you winged it.
– Kinda. – Right and we’re lucky that
in the midst of those two minutes, Paraguay didn’t have
a huge baby boom or something like that.
(laughing) Thrown the whole thing
off, now please join me in congratulating Venkat,
our other nine finalists and all 54 of the
students who made it here to Washington DC.
(applause) I’m Mo Rocca, thanks for watching. And remember the science,
exploration, education and story telling can change the world. And I want the parents
of our three finalists to come on up on stage,
let’s get the parents. (applause) Come on up. (upbeat music)
(applause) Congratulations, congratulations. (laughing) Love it, love it, love it. (upbeat music) Congratulations all of you. (upbeat music)
(applause)