Light and reflection are crucial across the animal kingdom, and sometimes they interact in strange and surprising ways.

Rutendo tells Sebastian about the time she carried out a classic experiment, the mirror test, with lions, during her PhD. Some lions made friends with the mirrors, while others pursued less wholesome activities...

The hatchet fish has evolved a fascinating means of hiding itself from predators, especially those searching out their prey with giant bioluminescent headlights. Biologist Alison Sweeney explains how the fish is able to disappear almost completely, using a combination of mirror-like scales and cells that act like fibre-optic cables on its belly.

Yossi Yovel invites us into his “bat lab for neuro-ecology” in Tel Aviv, where he carries out (harmless) experiments with helium to see how a changed atmosphere can dramatically impact a bat’s ability to navigate using echolocation.

And we find ourselves immersed in the bizarre sound-world of the lyrebird, which can perfectly mimic everything from car alarms to the calls of up to 25 other species of bird.


The BBC Earth podcast is presented by Sebastian Echeverri and Rutendo Shackleton.

This episode was produced by Rachel Byrne and Geoff Marsh.

The researcher was Seb Masters.

The Production Manager was Catherine Stringer and the Production Co-ordinator was Gemma Wootton.

Podcast Theme Music was composed by Axel Kacoutié, with mixing and additional sound design by Peregrine Andrews.

The Associate Producer is Cristen Caine and the Executive Producer is Deborah Dudgeon.

Special thanks to:

Alison Sweeney from Yale University for sharing her research on hatchetfish.

Yossi Yovel from Tel Aviv University for his interview about bat senses.

Marc Anderson for supplying the lyrebird soundscape.

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