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Living the Wild Life
Colin

Series 6 Prog 6: WOOD ANTS AND MINI BEASTS

In this final programme, Colin explores the fascinating biodiversity of Tipperary woods where ruthless empire-building and fierce colonial war is a feature of daily life.

With the expert guidance of Professor John Breen from the University of Limerick, Colin learns about a myriad of intrepid woodland creatures that predate, compete and battle to survive life on the forest floor: from woodlice and centipedes to earthworms, slugs, spiders and beetles.

What appears to be a heap of earth and sticks at the foot of an old tree trunk is actually a vibrant nest of over 100,000 wood ants, serving queen and colony in hundreds of ways: from garbage disposal, security and nursery duty to hunting bumblebees, wasps and ladybirds.

Switching to a specialized macro lens, Colin closes in to capture extraordinary footage of these industrious workers as they navigate their way across the forest floor using patterns of polarised light and shadows cast by neighbouring trees.

As Colin discovers, these hardy wood ants are no pushover and while he does get bitten, he is lucky not to have formic acid squirted in his face - a favourite weapon of these aggressive little creatures.

Having avoided one soaking, he stumbles right into another - showered with honey-dew shower while observing wood ants who are running a protection racket within the local aphid community.

 

 

 

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