Creepy Crawlies Up Close

Daily Mail (London), November 24, 2005 | Go to article overview

Creepy Crawlies Up Close


Byline: PETER PATERSON

Life In The Undergrowth (BBC1); Imagine: Elgar And The Missing Piano Concerto (BBC1)

THE CREATORS of those weird space monsters in the Star Wars films had nothing on Mother Nature here on earth.

As David Attenborough's wonderful new series, Life In The Undergrowth, opened last night, we saw the first of many amazingly grotesque creatures filling the screen. This one was slimy, for a start, and blobby, and it suddenly thrust out a jellified pylon towards us, on the end of which was a white disc with a black spot just a fraction off centre.

Just as I was preparing to dive behind the sofa to escape this frightening spectacle, I heard the comforting voice of Sir David reassuring us that all we were looking at was the eye of a common garden snail.

We've noticed over the years that David Attenborough loves to get hold of the latest technological gizmos, all the better to capture the wonders of nature.

The optical probe that can reach all kinds of underground creatures has greatly improved in definition this time round, and was used to great effect last night to photograph scorpions in their desert burrows - did you know they have a gestation period of more than a year, and give birth to up to 50 young?

The same device allowed us to hear the squelching under the earth of the 6ft giant Australian earthworm, a creature that never voluntarily comes to the surface, though, of course, Attenborough found us one that had been exposed by a landslip: what a star!

A ten-minute segment at the end of each episode tells us about the dangers and difficulties, the laughs, and the technologies employed in the two years of filming.

So we learned about new tiny lenses and electronic cameras that can show every detail of an animal, even if it's smaller than the head of a pin, and the improvement in slow-motion photography that enables film to be slowed to a 4,000th of the normal speed - it will come into its own next week when the subject is flight.

In short, Sir David promised over the next six weeks to show us sights that no human eye in history has ever seen before.

My own eye was astonished enough by sequences showing the mating habits (compared with the more familiar mammalian copulation) of millipedes, slugs, worms and snails: only puppy dogs' tails were missing.

AND SIZE is of no consequence - the Central American rainforest harvestman, related to spiders, is the size of a grain of wheat, and assembles a collection of up to 100 eggs acquired by fertilising different females.

Thanks to technology, we saw one harvestman's egg store.

A female of the species more deadly than the male is the tiny forest- dwelling springtail - as small as the full-stop at the end of this sentence - which chooses a mate by engaging in a trial of strength with several males, and (forget the flea) can jump the human equivalent of leaping over the Eiffel Tower. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Creepy Crawlies Up Close
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.