Life in the Undergrowth by David Attenborough

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An insect disguises itself as a flower or leaf. A spider lassoes its prey. A beetle persuades a bee to care for its young. This beautifully illustrated book by veteran naturalist Sir David Attenborough offers a rare glimpse into the secret life of invertebrates, the world's tiniest--and most fascinating--creatures.

Small by virtue of their lack of backbones, this group of living things plays a surprisingly large role in the evolutionary cycle. These diverse creatures (more than one million species are believed to exist) roamed the earth before us and will still be here when we have gone. They are the pollinators, cleaners, and recyclers of life on earth. Without them, we would not last long.

Attenborough has studied and enjoyed these diminutive beings since he was a schoolboy in the Leicestershire countryside of England. Life in the Undergrowth, part of his innovative series on natural history topics, looks at invertebrates the world over: their arrival on land and mastery of every habitat, and their fantastic variety of hunting, mating, and highly organized social behaviors.

Adults are prejudiced against insects--handicapped by their ignorance and fears and limited by their size and vision. Children, who are closer to insects in size, notice and enjoy the tiny creatures.

In this companion book to the Animal Planet television program, Attenborough shares his childlike curiosity for invertebrates, taking us down wormholes and into insect homes for an up-close-and-personal look at their habitats. As the biblical book of Proverbs implores: "Go to the ant, thou sluggard: consider her ways and be wise." David Attenborough does go. It is worth going with him.


About David Attenborough

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David Attenborough is one of the world's leading television broadcasters. His interest in the birds of paradise began at a very early age, leading to various expeditions to New Guinea to see them in the wild. The award-winning documentary Attenborough in Paradise fulfilled a dream to record in the wild the courtship display of these magnificent birds.Errol Fuller is well known for his books on extinction and extinct species, as well as an artist and collector of natural history material. He is passionate about the Birds of Paradise.
Published October 10, 2005 by BBC BOOKS. 320 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Life in the Undergrowth

Publishers Weekly

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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 th

Jan 23 2006 | Read Full Review of Life in the Undergrowth

BC Books

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Attenborough says, “I’ve been lucky enough to live through what might well be considered the Golden Age of natural history filmmaking.” He later says, “But the wonderful thing about wildlife filmmaking is that no matter how much you’ve seen and filmed, there’s always going to be something to surp...

Jan 22 2013 | Read Full Review of Life in the Undergrowth


For such groundbreaking television series as Life on Earth, The Private Life of Plants, and The Life of Birds, he has traveled to the ends of the earth to give viewers their first (and often only) close look at some of nature’s wonders–from the great wildebeest migration to the blooming of desert...

Dec 18 2012 | Read Full Review of Life in the Undergrowth

LATER THIS MONTH, SIR DAVID Attenborough sets out for the Antarctic, filming for natural history series The Frozen Planet.

May 07 2009 | Read Full Review of Life in the Undergrowth

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