"Spinifex Termites" by Eleanor Paish

The ecology and natural impact of the small spinifex grass-eating termites of Australia.

Shortlisted Eden Shorts 2015

When Eleanor found out about the Eden Shorts 2015 competition she was on a working holiday visa in Australia in a remote mining town.

The only notable features in the red, dusty landscape were miles upon miles of enormous spinifex termite mounds located a short distance out of town. These mounds "appeared to offer a haven for other wildlife", setting the story of a short wildlife film.

Spingwatch presenter and Eden Shorts judge Michaela Strachan commented:

Spinifex Termites is a really brave effort at capturing a wider ecosystem in a short film.

Spinifex termites of the Pilbara, Australia.

Spinifex termites of the Pilbara, Australia.

While commonly referred to as 'white ants' and their mounds 'anthills', these little insects of the grass plains of the Pilbara are in fact not ants at all. Eleanor's film is packed full of interesting natural history, and she admits that it was a struggle to condense her film down to only one minute.

Although rarely visible and well hidden inside well insulated nests, the major obstacle that Eleanor encountered during the filmmaking process was not simply the tiny termites, but actually temperamental software and the horror of "accidentally deleting half of my footage" - an issue most wildlife filmmakers have come across at least once!

Fellow Eden Shorts judge Nigel Marven loved that the film looked beyond the subject:

Eleanor does a great job in showing us how dependent we are on the little things in life.

Despite their diminutive size, Eleanor firmly believes that there's a lot more to these termites than meets the eye!