Life in the Undergrowth

Attenborough is at it again, exploring the natural world with his team of cinematographers and clearly explaining what they've found to a lay audience. In this companion volume to a series on TV's Animal Planet, Attenborough explores the lives of the planet's land-based invertebrates. Concentrating mainly on insects and spiders, the author investigates all aspects of the animals' life cycles. He first surveys the invertebrate invasion of land from the primordial sea, as illustrated by some of the most ancient species known (horseshoe crabs, scorpions, velvet worms, and snails). Insects then conquered the skies, and Attenborough observes some of the more familiar fliers as he compares and contrasts the lives of dragonflies, cicadas, and butterflies. A most fascinating section examines the diverse and often complicated ecological relationships of land invertebrates with their prey, their predators, their mates, and their rivals. Finally, the author turns his lens to the insects that live in super societies - ants, bees and wasps, and termites - and discusses the evolution and advantages of such extreme sociality. The text is always lively. Nancy Bent Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved - excerpt from amazon.com (Booklist)

"With its superb synthesis of the majority of living species, Life in the Undergrowth is a high point in David Attenborough's career, but it is also an elegant restatement of something he has spent a lifetime trying to teach: we are simply one species among a multitude, all of which are worthy of our interest and respect." (Tim Flannery New York Review of Books)

"A companion to a new television program on Animal Planet, this wonderful exploration of invertebrates exceeds the requirements for a great nature book through the strength of its photographs and the quality of its prose." (Publisher's Weekly)

"The stories told in this book are astonishing, and Attenborough knows just what wonder buttons to push... This is a beautifully written book - a worthwhile addition to any family library and a fitting companion for anyone's lap while watching Life in the the Undergrowth." (Biology Digest)

"Well-known naturalist Attenborough has written this book in a most engaging manner. Illustrated with stunning photographs, it serves both to inspire and inform." (Choice)


Life in the Undergrowth is a BBC nature documentary series written and presented by David Attenborough, first transmitted in the UK from 23 November 2005.

A study of the evolution and habits of invertebrates, it was the fifth of Attenborough's specialised surveys following his major trilogy that began with Life on Earth. Each of the five 50-minute episodes looks at a group (or aspect) of the creatures using innovative photographic techniques.

The series was produced in conjunction with Animal Planet. The executive producer was Mike Gunton, the series producer Mike Salisbury, and the music was composed by Ben Salisbury and David Poore. The Chief Scientific Consultant was Dr. George McGavin.

Within David Attenborough's 'Life' series, it was preceded by The Life of Mammals (2002), and is followed by Life in Cold Blood (2008). Before the latter, Attenborough narrated Planet Earth (2006). In May–June 2006, he also presented a two-part documentary on global warming: the programmes were entitled Are We Changing Planet Earth? and Can We Save Planet Earth?. - Wikipedia


Other Books By David Attenborough