Under the Microscope: October 13th, 2011

This week on the show, we hear about salamanders, energy-saving techniques, and the strange, secret world of mushroom hunters.

Hosted by Kyle Deas.

Several weekends this fall, a group of people has gathered to stalk the woods, eyes peeled, obsessively on the lookout for their prey. But these aren’t hunters or birdwatchers. They’re members of the Missouri Mycological Society, and they’re after a different sort of game: fungi.

KBIA’s Yiqian Zhang has this story.

The Ozark Hellbender is an exceedingly strange animal. It’s a salamander, but it’s huge – adult hellbenders regularly reach upwards of two feet in length. It lives for twenty or thirty years and it breathes in a way that’s unique in the amphibian world. Throughout its range, it’s called by a variety of lively names, including ‘snot otter’, ‘devil dog’, and ‘leverian water newt’.

But today this unique salamander is facing declining numbers and severe habitat loss. St. Louis Public Radio’s Veronique LaCapra reports on what steps are being taken to protect it.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is touring the state in an effort to make Missourians aware of the ways to save energy at home. The “Energize Missouri Homes Mobile Tour” is in Columbia today demonstrating how to cut energy costs at home. KBIA’s Kaveh Kaghazi reports.