NATURE: Sex, Lies And Butterflies
Airs Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV + Sunday, May 31 at 8 p.m. on KPBS 2 + KPBS Passport
Friday, May 22, 2020
Credit: Courtesy of Ann Johnson Prum / © THIRTEEN Productions LLC
Explore the amazing abilities of butterflies – from their deceptive camouflage and chemical weaponry to fantastic flight and more. Butterflies have been making our planet more interesting and beautiful for more than 50 million years, and today a dazzling array of nearly 20,000 different species inhabit the globe.
NATURE “Sex, Lies And Butterflies” follows the lives of these incredible and important insects from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to the emergence of the mature winged creature.
This vibrant new NATURE special explores the astonishing survival techniques of butterflies, including their 360° vision, deceptive camouflage, chemical weaponry, and fantastic flight across continents.
Through sophisticated macro-filming, viewers get a rare glimpse beyond the butterflies’ bright colors and fragile beauty as they follow them on one of the greatest migrations on Earth.
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- Painted Ladies
- Eastern tiger swallowtails
- Pipevine swallowtails
- Adelotypa annulifera
- All butterflies share a single, genetic ancestor – a small brown moth that lived more than 50 million years ago.
- Butterflies are actually moths – about 20,000 species of them – and inhabit every continent on the planet except Antarctica.
- Though the flight pattern of butterflies seems totally random, their oversized wings act like an enormous rudder, enabling them to soar with complete control.
- The eyes of a Painted Lady butterfly, whose habitat spans Europe, Asia, the Americas, and Africa, contain more than 30,000 lenses.
- A butterfly uses its tube-like tongue – or proboscis – to feed. It uncoils its proboscis and sucks up liquid nourishment using a micro-pump in its head.
- Jesse Barber of Boise State University and Akito Kawahara of the Florida Museum of Natural History recently discovered that some moths emit sounds pitched at the same frequencies as bats’ sonar, “jamming” the bats’ method of hunting them.
- Recorded for only the third time ever, a butterfly pollinates a flower using its wings, instead of its proboscis.
- Several species of butterfly utilize tricky survival techniques to escape predation, including eating noxious plants, mimicking the spots of other poisonous butterflies, or utilizing camouflage.
- Scientists reveal the unique relationship that Adelotypa annulifera caterpillars have with multitudes of ferocious ants, who nurture and guard them as they feed on nectar from young bamboo plants.
- From Africa to Scandinavia and back, Painted Ladies were discovered to have traveled about 9,000 miles roundtrip, completing the longest migration of any insect ever discovered.
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NATURE is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and PBS. For NATURE, Fred Kaufman is Executive Producer. Bill Murphy is series producer. “Sex, Lie and Butterflies” is a production of Terra Mater Factual Studios and Coneflower Productions in co-production with THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET. The documentary is produced and directed by Ann Johnson Prum. Narrated by Paul Giamatti. Edited by Jim Isler. Written by Janet Hess. Cinematography by Mark Carroll, Russell Kaye and Ann Johnson Prum. Original Music by David Mitcham. Ivo Filatsch and Sabine Holzer - Terra Mater Factual Studios" are executive producers for Terra Mater Factual Studios.
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