Tuesday, May 04, 2010

LIFE IN THE UNDERGROWTH - Part1: Invasion of the Land (2005)

I've seen many programs about various wonderful forms & variety of lives on our beautiful planet. But until Life in the Undergrowth there hasn't been a program that dealt about invertebrates in such a great depth.

Narrated by the one and only incomparable Mr. Who Else, this is a series par excellence.

More than 95% of all animal species on Earth consists of Invertebrates. For every one of us there are more than 200 million of those. As David says in the following intro clip, if we backbone creatures disappear suddenly, everything goes on normally for them but if they disappear, we are going to disappear with them.

The following clip consists of the first 200 seconds of the program. Observe that at some level we do have some similarities. 

The first episode Invasion of the Land consists of the behavior of many invertebrates where David draws parallels to the ones that are present now and the ones that first came to land hundreds of millions of years ago. I'm not going to explain anything from the program but I'll give you a few snaps of some of the interesting creatures from the program just to build your curiosity. 

Many of you might have seen a normal centipede (1st snap) but what about a giant centipede capturing and eating a bat (2nd snap).

Springtail is one of the most beautiful creatures but check its size in the 2nd snap below. The object to its side is not a nail but only a small pin. The size of the below springtail is actually less than half a millimeter. They shot a footage of a bathing springtail.

By the way we really need very advance equipment to shoot such videos which is the reason why invertebrates have been neglected before. But with the current equipment, they made this in a superb fashion. It took 2 years for filming this entire series.

If you think males running behind females is special to only our species, then think again. In the below clip, the top most one is a female which is trying to escape from the 3 EVIL males running behind it. You should actually see the video as this snap doesn't give you the full gravity of the situation.

A snap of a beautiful crustacean.

Ever enthusiastic David watching a leopard slug.

When you are studying any species, a large amount of time is given to study their mating practices. There are some of those in this episode but the most beautiful one is the mating ritual of the leopard slugs (below clip & don't miss this). By the way, poor slugs, THEY ARE GOING TO HELL BECAUSE THEY ARE HOMOSEXUALS (though not technically). 

My final snaps are related to the most important of all the invertebrates. This perhaps contributes more to our ecosystem than any other species. This is the EARTHWORM. The below pics are of a cocoon of a giant earthworm. Check the youngling inside the cocoon in the 2nd pic.

I've given just a glimpse of the program. A velvet worm hunting which was shot in slow motion using an IR camera, violent scorpion making out session are just some of the many amazing stuff that you will find in this superb episode. 

Technically this is of the highest quality. The background score is great. A collector's series.

If someone is afraid or hate even viewing the invertebrates, I've got just one thing to say. Don't be afraid or don't hate these because believe it or not, we are related and we have a common ancestor albeit a long time back.

You can watch the best bits from Life In The Undergrowth as chosen by the TV production team here.
Also some snaps/clips from episode 2 Taking to the Air.
Few snaps/clips from episode 3 The Silk Spinners.
Some snaps/clips from episode 4 Intimate Relations.
Some snaps/clips from episode 5 Supersocities.

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