About Life in the Undergrowth

After spending over half a century bringing us the largest, longest, heaviest and most powerful creatures in the natural world, king of wildlife television Sir David Attenborough turns his gaze on the smallest of them all in this ground-breaking series.

David Attenborough

If you can deal with termites on their own terms or cope with copulating caterpillars, there's a weird world of wonder to be found hidden away in Earth's foliage, much of it as beautiful as it's barbaric. Not only do they outnumber us humans by a factor of 200 million to one but the entire eco-system of the planet depends on these microscopic marvels. Splendidly shot and stylishly edited, this five-part series delves into the unpopular but marvellous world of the undergrowth.

David Attenborough

Episode 1 - Invasion Of The Land

Sex and violence can't be avoided in any look at an insect's life, as we discover in South Africa with bright red millipedes and the tiny springtail's courtship dance on the underside of a leaf. Closer to home, we also delve into the private life of the leopard slug to watch its marathon mating ritual and truly bizarre climax. Last but not least, we travel to the caves of Venezuela to meet the horrific giant bat-eating centipede!

Episode 2 - Taking To The Air

Focusing on how insects first learned how to fly, the opening sequence is spectacular! Swarms of Hungarian mayflies take to the skies in the setting June sun for an unforgettable display, demonstrating how the very first wings evolved. Later, we see the stunning acrobatics of hoverflies in an English garden, the mass migration of purple crow butterflies in Taiwan besides Sir David tackling the Tiger beetle, the world's largest insect.

David Attenborough

Episode 3 - The Silk Spinners

Silk is the invertebrates' greatest invention, being used for a variety of purposes. We see lacewings protect their young with silk, and the amazing threads of New Zealand's glow-worms. But the star of this third edition are the clever bolas spider, who create a webbing of sticky silk soaked in moth pheromone to lure its prey. The footage of millions of communal spiders at work in their vast web network is certainly not a pretty sight for arachnophobes!

Episode 4 - Intimate Relations

The fourth instalment concentrates on the relationship between insects and the world around them, with unique footage of the fairy wasp, the world's smallest insect at a quarter of a millimetre long! We also see ants colonising trees and beetle larvae cunningly hitching a ride in the fur of a female bee to attack her supplies of pollen.

Episode 5 - Supersocieties

Episode 5 takes a look at the relatively recent development of society in insects. Teaming up in huge related groups, social invertebrates altruistically give their all for the better of their kin. The footage of an ant colony taking on a termite colony is truly something to behold.