The migration of the painted lady has long fascinated scientists, artists and nature lovers alike. The longest butterfly migration on earth, it sees millions of these delicate creatures travel from the desert fringes of north Africa, across thousands of miles of land and sea, before settling in the UK. However, the migration has never truly been understood, the mysteries of the painted lady never unravelled - until now.
Watching the fascinating display of leafcutter ants at the Natural History Museum in London is one of my favourite ways to while away a few hours, but David Attenborough is operating on a much grander scale here in the last in the series. In Argentina he observes some cousins of the leafcutters who are part of a community so vast it spans an entire continent. It’s one of the mandible-dropping facts in a look at one of the key inventions of arthropods: colonies. From termites and honey bees to the leafcutters, it seems that if you want to get ahead, you move to the big city.
Bill Bailey introduces a delightfully eccentric cast of creatures that have chosen to do things differently. Odd, unconventional and unusual - these are animals that don't normally grab the limelight. They include the parrot that has forgotten how to fly, the bear that has turned vegetarian, a chameleon that is barely bigger than an ant, and a penguin that lives in a forest. Nature's Misfits reveals the extraordinary and rarely seen lives of these evolutionary oddballs along with their strange habitats, unusual forms and the incredible hurdles they overcome.
Plants amazingly dominate this green world by employing poisons, recruiting defensive armies, feeding off the dead and using animals for pollination and seed dispersal. For predators this world presents exceptional challenges, not only in finding prey in such a tangled place, but in how to deal with the toxins that so many animals and plants are laced with.
Traveling is extremely arduous for microscopic sperm -- think of a human trying to swim in a pool made of...other humans.