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Episode 6 of 10

The nature documentary looks at the most successful animal group, with 200 million insects for each human. The key is an armoured covering that takes on almost any shape.

There are 200 million insects for each of us. They are the most successful animal group ever. Their key is an armoured covering that takes on almost any shape.

Darwin's stag beetle fights in the tree tops with huge curved jaws. The camera flies with millions of monarch butterflies which migrate 2000 miles, navigating by the sun. Super-slow motion shows a bombardier beetle firing boiling liquid at enemies through a rotating nozzle. A honey bee army stings a raiding bear into submission. Grass cutter ants march like a Roman army, harvesting grass they cannot actually eat. They cultivate a fungus that breaks the grass down for them. Their giant colony is the closest thing in nature to the complexity of a human city.

Available now

59 minutes

Audio described

Last on

Mon 29 Jul 2019 20:00



Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • Opening Titles

    Duration: 00:22

  • Introduction to Insects

    A look ahead to see how different insects live, survive and transform.

    Duration: 01:16

  • Searching for a Mate

    A Darwin beetle begins his search for a mate, although he must use his jaw to take out the competition, and the damselfly must take many risks when searching for a place to lay her eggs.

    Duration: 13:32

  • Adverse Conditions

    The monarch fly migrates to Mexico to avoid a cold season in Canada, and the alkaline fly can live in a place which is lethal to most other life, except one of its predators.

    Duration: 10:31

  • Chemical Weapons

    Food is not the only think the oogpister beetle gets from his prey; it also gets an excellent chemical weapon. Also, bees work together to defend their hive from a bear attack.

    Duration: 07:43

  • Communal Living

    A Japanese bug must find food for her inpatient young, and male Dawson’s bees kill one another to get to the female. Also, a look at how a colony of grass cutter ants works towards the same goal.

    Duration: 16:01

  • Life on Location – Flying with Butterflies

    A behind the scenes look at how the Life programme makers tried to capture the activities of monarch butterflies by flying a camera amongst them.

    Duration: 10:27


Role Contributor
Narrator David Attenborough
Executive Producer Michael Gunton
Producer Rupert Barrington


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  • Mon 29 Jul 2019 20:00