Life in The Undergrowth

BBC (ended 2005)


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Episode Guide


  • Season 1
    • Supersocieties
      Episode 5
      The final program deals with 'supersocieties' formed by ants, bees and termites. The colonies formed when creatures ended a totally solitary existence and started building nests side-by-side. The life of a queen bumblebee and her hive is shown, as is a larger colony of wood ants. An ant nest in a mangrove swamp is filmed as they repair their tunnels during low tide, harvester ants block of the entrace of other nests, and army ants move their bivouac on a nightly basis searching for a new home. Finally, termintes and their colonies are shown, focusing on magnetic termintes which build their mounds in north/south orientation, and a full-scale attach on a mound by matabele ants.moreless
    • 12/14/05
      Episode 4 covers the special relationships between invertebrates with plants or other animals. Included are: aphid-herding ants, gall-inducing insects, and parasitic relationships such as a wasp grub carried by an orchard spider, fairy wasp eggs laid inside eggs of water beetles, and methoca, an ant-like wasp, which paralyzes and then implants a tiger-beetle larva with its eggs.moreless
    • 12/7/05
      The third episodes deals with creatures that spin and use silk. Starting with fungus gnats who spin 'lures' and glow to attract prey, Sir David proceeds to cover silks' use as an adhesive by lacewings, then spiders, including trapdoor spiders, orb-weavers and redbacks. This episodes concludes with mating, showing the dangers some male spiders face after, and sometimes during the mating ritual.moreless
    • 11/30/05
      Episode 2 deals with flying insects. First to take the air are dragonflies and mayflies. Butterflies physiology is shown, as are bumblebees keeping warm and flying beetles, including the enormous titan beetle.
    • 11/23/05
      Episode 1 of this series describes how the first invertebrates colonized land. Over the millenia, these different species have evolved into snails, worms, scorpions.