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Series: Life in the Undergrowth

 

Life in the Undergrowth: Invasion Of The Land

   2005    Nature
Open your eyes to the bizarre, ferocious and surprisingly beautiful world of the invertebrates, a ground-breaking exploration into a spectacular miniature universe never normally seen but teeming all around us. In the first episode, the story of the land-living invertebrates. Discover the private life of Europe's dramatic leopard slug, a common garden resident with a truly bizarre end to its marathon mating ritual; watches the courtship ballet of tiny springtails on the underside of a leaf; sees swarms of bright red South African millipedes find partners, and in the caves of Venezuela meets the giant bat-eating centipede.

Taking To The Air

   2005    Nature
As the early June sun begins to set over a calm river in Central Hungary, masses of ghostly shapes emerge from their larval cases to take to the air for the first time. They are mayflies and in a spectacular display, thousands of them demonstrate how the very first wings were used. From the stunning aerobatics of hoverflies in an English garden to the mass migration of purple crow butterflies in the valleys of Taiwan, this episode tells the tale of the first animals ever to take to the air. Unique footage reveals the lightning fast reactions of bluebottles and hoverflies, filmed with one of the world's fastest cameras, and Sir David Attenborough handles the world's largest (and perhaps most ferocious) insect - the Titan beetle.

The Silk Spinners

   2005    Nature
Silk is the invertebrates' great invention, used in a range of ways from from the protective stalks of lacewing eggs to the amazing hanging threads of New Zealand's 'glow worms'. Spiders, though, have taken silk-spinning to extremes. The common wolf spider has no web, but the female is a gentle parent, encasing her eggs in silk and carrying the precious bundle wherever she goes. The bolas spider uses a ball of sticky silk soaked in a copy of moth pheromone to lure its prey. Millions of communal spiders live and feed together in a vast, towering web - an arachnophobe's nightmare.

Intimate Relations

   2005    Nature
The world of invertebrates exists in a web of relationships with plants and other animals. Unique footage of the world's smallest insect (a fairy wasp only quarter of a millimetre long) shows it flying underwater to find the eggs of water beetles in which to lay its own brood. Some ants 'farm' the trees that give them shelter, creating areas known as 'Devil's gardens'. To make sure these grow without competition, they kill off other seedlings in the surrounding vegetation. The blister beetle's larvae huddle together on the end of a piece of grass and mimic a female bee. When a male bee tries to mate with the 'female', the larvae grab on to his belly. Confused, he flies away and searches for a real female. When he eventually finds her and mates with her, the beetle larvae hurriedly swap from his front on to her back, and hence get carried back to her nest where they eat her pollen supplies.

Supersocieties

   2005    Nature
Invertebrates don't always operate alone. True society was the last feature to evolve in invertebrates, as recently as the time of Tyrannosaurus. In the last programme see the tensions below the surface in some of the great social structures built by insects, and witness the carnage when an ant colony and a termite colony wage war.
Natural World
Natural World

   2011    Nature
The Story of Science
The Story of Science

   2010    History
P.U.L.S.E
P.U.L.S.E

   2006    Art
Wonders Of The Universe
Wonders Of The Universe

   2011    Science
The Story of India
The Story of India

   2007    History
The Germanic Tribes
The Germanic Tribes

   2007    History
Meet the Romans
Meet the Romans

   2012    History
The Planets
The Planets

   2000    Science