LIFE, with David Attenborough (2009) BBC

Episode 6: Insects

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Video Description

The sixth episode enters the world of insects. By assuming a variety of body shapes and incorporating armour and wings, they have evolved diverse survival strategies and become the most abundant creatures on Earth. In Chilean Patagonia, male Darwin’s beetles lock horns and hurl their rivals from the treetops in search of a mate. A damselfly’s chance to mate and lay eggs can be cut abruptly short by a leaping frog. Monarch butterflies use their wings to power them on an epic migration to their hibernating grounds in the forests of Mexico’s Sierra Madre. Many insects carry chemical weapons as a form of defence. High-speed cameras show oogpister beetles squirting formic acid into the face of an inquisitive mongoose and bombardier beetles firing boiling caustic liquid from their abdomens. Some insects gain an advantage through co-operation. When an American black bear destroys a bee’s nest, the colony survives by carrying their honey to a new site. Japanese red bug nymphs will move to a different nest if their mother fails to provide sufficient food. In the Australian outback, male Dawson’s bees fight to the death over females emerging from their nest burrows. As a result, all will die, but the strongest mate most often. Argentina’s grasscutter ants form huge colonies five million strong. They feed on a fungus which they cultivate underground, in nest structures which have natural ventilation. Life on Location documents the Mexico crew’s attempts to rig up aerial camera shots of the awakening monarch butterflies.

Documentary Description

Life is a nature documentary series made by BBC television, first broadcast as part of the BBC's Darwin Season on BBC One and BBC HD from October to December 2009. The series takes a global view of the specialised strategies and extreme behaviour that living things have developed in order to survive; what Charles Darwin termed "the struggle for existence". Four years in the making, the series was shot entirely in high definition.

The UK broadcast of Life consists of ten 50-minute episodes. The opening programme gives a general introduction to the series, a second looks at plants, and the remainder are dedicated to the major animal groups. They aim to show common features that have contributed to the success of each group, and to document intimate and dramatic moments in the lives of selected species chosen for their charisma or their extraordinary behaviour. A ten-minute making-of feature Life on Location aired at the end of each episode, taking the total running time to 60 minutes.

Life is produced by the BBC Natural History Unit in association with the Discovery Channel, Skai TV and the Open University. The original script, used in the British and Canadian versions of the series, was written and narrated by David Attenborough.
Source: Wikipedia

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