Making Of • 2005 • episode "Extra" Life in the Undergrowth

Category: Nature

Life in the Undergrowth is a BBC nature documentary series written and presented by David Attenborough

Life in the Undergrowth • 2005 • 7 episodes •

Invasion of the Land

The first episode tells how invertebrates became the first creatures of any kind to colonise dry land. Their forerunners were shelled and segmented sea creatures that existed 400 million years ago. Some of them ventured out of the water to lay their eggs in safety, and Attenborough compares those first steps with today's mass spawning of horseshoe crabs off the Atlantic coast of North America.

2005 • Nature

Taking to the Air

The next programme deals with flying insects. It begins in Central Europe, where the Körös River plays host to millions of giant mayflies as they rise from their larval skins to mate. — the climax of their lives. Mayflies and dragonflies were among the first to take to the air about 320 million years ago, and fossils reveal that some were similar in size to a seagull. Damselflies are also looked at in detail.

2005 • Nature

The Silk Spinners

The third instalment examines the spiders and others that produce silk. Attenborough visits New Zealand's Waitomo Caves, which are inhabited by fungus gnats whose illuminated larvae sit atop glistening, beaded filaments to lure their prey.

2005 • Nature

Intimate Relations

The penultimate episode focuses on the relationships between invertebrates and plants or other animals. It begins with ants and aphids: the former 'herd' the latter and protect them in return for secreted honeydew.

2005 • Nature


The final programme looks at the superorganisms formed by bees, ants and termites. Attenborough reveals that their colonies, whose individuals were once considered purely servile, are "full of conflict, power struggles and mutinies." They evolved when such creatures moved away from a solitary existence and started building nests side-by-side, which led to a collective approach to caring for their young.

2005 • Nature

Fly on the Wall

Making Of (Special Fly On The Wall inserts at the end of each programme will explore, in greater detail, how the BBC's Natural History Unit was able to capture such stunning footage for the first time.)

2005 • Nature

Making Of

Life in the Undergrowth is a BBC nature documentary series written and presented by David Attenborough

2005 • Nature

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