(additional 30 min)
Gale force winds and cold temperatures
make the islands off New Zealand particularly unwelcoming in winter.
But when the brief summer comes,
temperatures rise and winds slacken.
It's now that visitors arrive.
All here to breed before winter returns.
There's the Snares penguins.
Birds come, too.
This is an excellent place for them to dig their nesting burrows,
for no predators have managed to get here.
Soon the island is crowded with birds.
Every one of them eager to make the most of the short breeding season.
But not everyone has a partner.
A male albatross waits for his mate.
Each year they spend six months apart,
traveling the ocean.
They reunite here to breed.
But this year, she's late.
No, that's not her.
The other birds come and go.
The clock is ticking.
If she doesn't appear soon,
it will be too late for them to breed successfully.
Every morning the birds fly off to collect food for their young.
Everybody else seems to be getting on with it.
The bird’s return marks another lost day.
There are three million birds on the island,
but only one matters to him.
Could this be her?
At first, he's a little coy.
But not for long.
They greet each other with the special dance they've perfected over many years.
There is much to do,
if they're to raise a chick before winter returns.
But when you've been apart for six months,
some things can't be rushed.
Islands in warm tropical waters don't experience seasonal extremes.
These islands, lying off the coast of East Africa,
provide a sanctuary for seabirds all the year round.
Fairy terns are permanent residents.
They take a fairly relaxed view about what constitutes a nest.
A bare branch is quite enough.
Climbing onto it to incubate has to be done with care.
Once a year, these birds arrive.
They do make nests,
and trees provide their young with an easier start in life.
Nesting on this island looks ideal,
but behind the beauty there's a sinister side.
She knows something's not quite right
but her drive to incubate is strong.
The birds, too, have a problem.
As their chicks grow,
so this tree develops seeds
that are sticky and equipped with hooks.
By the time the young birds leave
they carry these hitchhiking seeds away to other islands.
But sometimes these trees are too successful.
If a young bird testing out its wings drops to the ground,
it can get covered with the seeds.
Entangled and weighed down,
if it can't free itself,
the youngster will starve.
The tree may have failed to disperse these seeds,
but it will soon have fertilizer for its roots.
This is why some people call this tree the "bird catcher tree".
The Fairy tern laid another egg,
and now she has a tiny chick to feed.
This chick is lucky.
By the time it grows,
the tree’s seeds will have dispersed and the danger they brought will be gone.
Even the most pleasant looking islands present challenges
for the animals living there.
But the greatest threat they face is change.
Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean.
For millions of years this remote speck of land has been ruled by crabs.
Their ancestors came from the sea,
but most have now adopted a land-based existence.
Given there are so many of them,
they get along relatively well.
They're the gardeners and caretakers of a tiny crab utopia.
Once a year, they must all return to the sea to breed,
and the march of the red crabs is one of the greatest natural spectacles on Earth.
There are 50 million of them.
It's an event that has brought the island worldwide fame.
But in recent years,
millions of red crabs haven't managed to reach the sea.
An invader has occupied this island.
Yellow crazy ants.
They escape from visiting ships,
and with no predators to control them,
they have now created vast super colonies in the forest.
When migrating red crabs march into their territory,
the ants attack,
squirting acid into the crabs' eyes and mouths.
The crabs have no defense.
Blinded and confused, they're doomed.
Humans brought these ant invaders here
and now humans are having to control them.
Isolated communities may evolve
for millions of years in relative peace,
but when new challenges arrive,
they can struggle to cope.
Of all the species that have become
extinct in recent years,
around eighty percent have been islanders.
Our impact on the Earth is greater today than ever before.
Yet some islands are so remote,
that few humans have even set foot on them.
This Island is one.
It lies in the great Southern Ocean.
It's not only surrounded by the stormiest of seas,
it is itself an active volcano.
It's the last place on Earth you'd choose to live.
Unless you're a chinstrap penguin.
There's plenty of food in these waters,
but to exploit it,
the penguins have to risk their lives.
Life here is dangerous in the extreme.
But there are some benefits from living on a volcano.
Its warmth melts the snow early in the year and by January,
the Antarctic's mid-summer,
the island is covered in chicks.
Parents take turns at guarding them until they're large enough to be left alone.
This mother's chicks are hungry,
but she has no food left to give them.
Their survival depends on their father returning with their next meal.
But some don't make it.
Birds harass the colony hoping to snatch a chick.
She can't risk leaving them.
Everything will be fine as long as their father comes back soon.
He's been fishing
Forty miles offshore,
he's not far away.
For him, however,
and for all the other parents here,
the worst of the journey is still to come.
Tiny claws help him to get whatever grip he can on the rough lava.
For these commuters, it's rush hour.
Some have had a really bad day.
The father now has a two mile walk to the nest,
and a stomach loaded with food doesn't help.
This is the largest penguin colony in the world.
But as he makes the same journey every other day,
he should be able to do it with his eyes closed.
It's true that there can be safety in numbers,
but numbers can also be something of a problem when you're trying to find your own nest.
The mother is still waiting.
Her chicks are now desperate.
In the midst of all this,
he can recognize her particular cry.
Both chicks will get a meal.
With a head bob of acknowledgement,
their mother now leaves.
It's her turn to do the feeding run.
This commute is the price these penguins pay for sanctuary.
A strange vision of paradise to us,
but for one and a half million penguins,
this island has it all.
Islands may seem remote
but they are home to some of the most precious wildlife on Earth.
we ascend into the planet's high mountains to discover a spectacular but hostile world where life must be at its most resourceful,
and only the toughest animals can endure.
There are only fourteen peaks in the world that rise to over twenty thousand feet.
All of them are here in the Himalayas.
Lethally cold, scarred by gales and blizzards,
these mountains are among the most hostile places on Earth.
Yet, a few special animals manage to live here.
Like all creatures of the high mountains,
they have had to adapt both their body and their behavior,
in order to survive.
Life at extreme altitude has shaped some of the toughest animals on the planet.
The sun-baked mountains of the Arabian Peninsula.
They may only be a fraction of the height of the Himalayas,
but they are still so dizzyingly steep that in many places it's almost impossible to get a foothold.
Yet, ibex have made this their home.
The ibex choose the steepest cliffs to raise their young in safety,
beyond the reach of predators.
But living this sanctuary comes with a cost.
These nursery slopes are so steep,
there is almost no standing water up here.
So, to drink, an ibex family must descend into the valley,
almost a thousand feet below.
The mothers pick out the safest way down.
With soft cloven hooves that grip better than any climbing shoe,
they are the most accomplished mountaineers.
But the newborn kids are still having to find their feet.
This is their first descent.
One mistake could make it their last.
Following the adults,
the kids finally reach the valley.
But once on level ground, they're vulnerable.
Red foxes lie in wait.
At the first sign of danger,
the young ibex runs back to steeper ground.
But heading for this particular rocky outcrop could be a mistake.
It's a thirty foot drop.
The fox has them trapped,
or so it seems.
This is what ibex were born to do.
Scattering makes it hard for the fox to pick a target.
And it certainly can't follow them up here.
All it can do is wait for one to slip and fall.
But these youngsters are fast learners
and they're now almost as sure-footed as their parents.
The fox will have to find its meal elsewhere.
It's just not been a good day.
Now, at last, the young ibex can drink.
But they'll soon need to return to the safety of the sheer cliffs.
Mastering steep terrain is always challenging,
but there are more fundamental problems for life in the mountains.
The Alps, Europe's highest peaks.
It's winter, and food is desperately short.
The golden eagle has to spend every daylight hour
scanning the slopes for something, somewhere, to eat.
Her seven foot wingspan allows her to glide effortlessly
for over fifty miles in a single day.
Her extraordinary eyes enable her to spot prey from over two miles away.
But she is not the only one who's looking for food.
When she spots a chance,
she must move fast.
She can dive at over 150 miles an hour,
only a falcon is faster.
During winter, even eagles rely almost entirely on dead animals.
It's a dead fox,
and it could sustain her for days.
Other scavengers must defer.
The hungry crows soon regain their courage.
They'll try any trick to steal a morsel.
And they are annoyingly persistent.
But this mob are the least of her worries.
A bigger eagle takes control.
But this kill is too important to give up,
so she must fight.
For the moment, she's won the carcass back.
But a kill like this will attract every eagle for miles around.
As ever, the strongest wins the lion's share.
Unable to defend the carcass any longer,
the first eagle must now continue its search.
It may be many days before she feeds again.
Only the most competitive will survive the perils of the mountain winter.
An avalanche, nine million tons of snow traveling
at 60 miles an hour,
capable of smashing everything in its path.
The mountains of North America are hit by thousands of avalanches every year.
Yet, one animal spends the whole winter slumbering within the snow
on these avalanche-prone slopes.
And when spring comes, they emerge.
All across these mountains,
grizzly bears make their winter dens up to nine thousand feet high
in the deep snow of these slopes.
And while they were half asleep in the depths of winter,
their young were born.
Now, these cubs are taking their first steps into the outside world.
This mother is leading her three youngsters to a place where they can find food.
They need to descend as quickly as possible.
The fallout from an avalanche is clear evidence that this slope is still dangerously unstable.
This is not a place to dawdle.
And they have another reason to keep moving.
After five months in the den,
these bears are very hungry.
Bears that have hibernated throughout these peaks
now all descend to the valleys, where spring comes earliest.
In the Rockies, seasonal change is swift and dramatic.
In just a few days,
the slopes turn from white to green.
Meadows that only a few weeks ago were buried beneath the snow are now full of life.
But in these mountains,
the good times will not last long.
So the bears must feed as fast as they can.
During the summer months,
an adult can put on 180 kilos, gorging on plants.
And if they can catch them,
a marmot or two.
But, just now, the bears have something else on their minds.
It's becoming warmer, and the bears are keen to shed their thick winter coats.
Mothers show the cubs what to do about this.
They'll soon catch on.
Some trees, it seems,
are particularly suitable for rubbing.
Bears have their favorites,
and will travel long distances to visit them.
Some itches just have to be scratched.
There are now around 30 bears in this one valley.
As they rub, each leaves an individual and recognizable scent.
So the tree soon carries a list of who's around.
Which might help individuals to avoid a fight.
To best spread their scent,
they really have to put their back into it.
But the summer is short.
Itches satisfactorily scratched,
it's time to eat.
In a couple of months,
they will have to return to their dens to hibernate.
So now they must put on as much weight as they can.
Winter in the mountains returns fast and hits hard.
Temperature in the Rockies will drop to minus 65 degrees.
So cold, that moisture in the air freezes into tiny crystals called diamond dust.
This bobcat is one of the few hunters to remain active in winter.
Most of his prey is now hidden beneath the snow that covers his entire territory.
He hunts by listening for the faintest sound of movement.
And to prevent crunching footsteps from revealing his presence,
he uses boulders as stepping stones.
But one is not enough.
The deeper the snow,
the harder it is to detect prey,
and the rewards for the effort can be disappointing.
To say the least.
By mid-winter, the snow is so deep,
the bobcats are forced to leave their territories to try and find easier hunting.
And this bobcat may be in luck,
for this particular valley is blessed.
A river here never freezes.
It's fed by a volcanic hot spring that heats these waters
to 50 degrees warmer than the surrounding air.
Hungry animals of all kinds come here to feed.
Throughout the winter,
the river is full of food for those who know how to catch it.
Here, even the coyotes have become fishermen.
But hunting is hard for a cat that's not used in getting its feet wet.
So he must choose his target with care.
But can he get close enough to pounce?
Perhaps he'll have more luck on the other side.
Here, steam from the river warms the surrounding trees.
So, up in the branches,
there could be prey.
If only he could get to it.
It's twenty feet up. At last,
Not much, but enough to keep him going.
To survive a winter in these mountains takes determination,
and bobcats have that in abundance.
Snow on the equator.
Unlike the Rockies, in these mountains there are no marked seasons.
This is Africa's Mount Kenya.
It's over fifteen thousand feet high,
which makes its summit some 50 degrees colder than the surrounding savannah.
Giant plants grow on its upper slopes.
They all thrive in the tropical sun.
After all, every day is summer.
But once the sun sets,
every night becomes as bitterly cold as winter.
The temperature drops to five degrees below freezing,
turning the mountainside into a garden of ice.
But the cabbage plants have a way of protecting themselves.
They close up their leathery leaves to form
an insulating blanket that shields their vulnerable central bud.
Night comes to an end,
and the sunshine returns.
These cabbage plants spread their leaves wide to bask in the sunshine once again.
Dawn, in the high mountains...
Here too, the rising sun brings rapid relief to animals living among these volcanic peaks.
Mountain chinchillas are up early to claim the best places to catch the sun's first rays.
For others up here,
the sunrise is even more welcome.
At over twelve thousand feet,
this is the highest flamingo colony in the world.
At night, it gets so cold that even this salty water freezes over.
And now the flamingos are trapped in the ice.
Eventually, the sun thins the ice.
But it's still a struggle for the flamingos to break free.
Walking on thin ice is always risky.
And it's hard to retain one's dignity,
especially when you're wearing stilts.
At these altitudes, the sun's power can quickly turn from salvation to threat.
The atmosphere is so thin,
there is very little protection from ultraviolet radiation.
it's risky to linger out in the open.
The chinchillas are forced to head for the shade.
Out on the lake,
there is nowhere to hide.
The white crust of the Soda Lake reflects the sun's glare
and increases the impact of its ultraviolet rays.
By mid-day, uncovered human skin will burn in four minutes.
But this doesn't seem to bother the flamingos.
In fact, they are on parade.
During the breeding season,
the flamingos perform these peculiar courtship dances
even through the hottest time of the day.
They're so eager,
they don't even pause to feed.
The rules are something of a mystery,
but after a month of dancing,
all the birds will have paired off and will be getting ready to mate.
Up here, there are few other creatures to bother the flamingos.
But then, few other creatures could even tolerate these conditions.
So, for animals that have the endurance,
mountains can be sanctuaries.
But rocky peaks, which to us, perhaps, seem a symbol of permanence,
are more fragile than they appear.
Today, in the Alps,
human encroachment is changing even the highest summits.
In the Rockies,
rising temperatures are shortening winter hibernation and stifling the growth of valuable food plants.
And here, some glaciers have shrunk by 50% in just 30 years.
Even the Himalayas are now vulnerable.
With most of the world's tallest peaks and covering a half million square miles,
this is the greatest mountain range of all.
And here, temperatures are now rising faster than the global average.
As the snow line retreats further and further up these peaks,
there is less and less space for wildlife.
And that is a challenge for one of the most majestic of all mountain creatures.
The snow leopard.
The detail of their lives has long been a mystery.
But now at last, helped by the latest remote camera technology,
we're getting closer to them than ever before.
They're very rare.
Only about four of them in a fifty square miles.
There is simply not enough prey to sustain more.
They live solitary lives.
Nonetheless, they are well aware of the presence
and the movements of their neighbors
because they leave messages in a few special places.
They rub particular rocks with their cheeks.
And they spray them with urine.
The two perfumes create a unique signature.
Any other leopard can know which of its neighbors passed this way,
without ever making direct contact.
But there are times when snow leopards must come together and the event is often violent.
An adult female and her daughter.
She has devoted the last two years to raising her cub, and very soon, it will be weaned.
For now, the cub is still entirely dependent on its mother.
But staying together as long as this could cause problems.
The female is now in heat again,
and any male that smells her signature will know that.
From this moment on,
her cub's life is at risk.
Males kill cubs that are not their own.
But the mother is now driven by an urge that she cannot control.
She lets the males know exactly where she is.
From up here,
she can be heard from miles around.
A young male emerges from the wilderness,
eager to find her.
Snow leopards meet so infrequently that there is uncertainty and tension.
And it's about to get worse.
Another bigger male has arrived.
The mother and cub are trapped between the rivals.
The cub is now in danger.
Mother must act fast.
To divert the males' attention from her cub,
she rolls over submissively.
With the males fixed on the female,
the cub has a chance to escape.
The males close in on the mother from both sides,
keen to claim her for their own.
A fight is inevitable.
The female moves to escape and protect her cub.
But the big male follows her.
He will not let her leave until he has mated with her.
With the males gone,
the female is at last reunited with her cub.
But she has been injured.
The cub, however, is alive,
thanks to its mother.
Until her injury heals,
she won't be able to hunt.
Mountain animals survive on the very edge of existence.
Mother and cub were not seen again.
Until, over a month later, high on a ridge,
a remote camera was triggered.
The female cat.
She's no longer limping but she's now alone.
Then an hour after the female has left,
the camera is triggered again.
It's her cub, taking her first steps towards adulthood and independence.
She is unlikely to see her mother again.
But every now and then, they will be reunited through the messages they leave on the marking rocks.
Her mother has succeeded in raising her, but life ahead will be challenging,
and she will spend nearly all of it alone.
Only the toughest can survive among the savage beauty of the world's highest mountains.
Next time, we explore the world's jungles.
Places of surprise and invention unrivaled on Earth...
where the battle for survival is at its most intense.
Earth is the only planet we know of where life exists.
And here, it does so in abundance.
The jungle is Eden.
It covers less than 6% of the Earth's surface,
but it's home to half of all the plants and animals on land.
Jungles have just the right amount of light, water and nutrients,
and they have had every day for thousands of years.
Life here should be easy.
This is a monkey.
It's a primate like us,
and these forests in Madagascar are its home.
But to survive here,
it has to face one major challenge.
Paradise is crowded.
Life fills every niche.
And at any one time,
a staggering variety of species and countless individuals are striving for space and food.
Like every jungle animal, these monkeys have to find
their own way to survive in the most competitive place on Earth.
Jungles are complex places.
Tangled, three-dimensional worlds created by lush tropical vegetation.
Ninety percent of the animals here spend their whole lives up in the trees,
and each of them has to find its own way of getting around.
Hanging almost a hundred feet above the ground,
a spider monkey.
They travel in family groups and find everything they need in the top story of the jungle.
Up here isn't a place for the faint-hearted.
With long limbs and a prehensile tail that can grip like a hand,
they're built for climbing.
But imagine having to learn these skills as high up as this.
One-third of spider monkeys never make it to adulthood.
This youngster is only a few months old.
Her future depends on her ability to climb.
Playing on a practice tree with her older brother and sister,
she's already learning to use her tail as a safety line...
...under her father's close watch.
She's keen to join in the game,
but she's the youngest and,
as is the way of things,
she's not always welcome.
So she chooses her own place to play.
But not all trees are the same.
This one is for more advanced climbers.
Room for improvement.
Meanwhile, some of her family have moved on to look for a new patch of fresh food.
The top of the canopy isn't for youngsters.
But father's not looking,
And the temptation to join the others is irresistible.
She'll need to be careful.
A fall from here will mean certain death.
It's the first time she's been as high as this on her own.
As she climbs still higher,
the branches get thinner and thinner.
Her tail has caught her.
But now she's stuck in mid-air,
unable to reach any other branch.
Father, however, was watching.
He's big and strong enough to form a bridge with his body so that she can climb to safety.
But it's not just monkeys that live here up in the treetops.
And if you are small,
finding the right tree can mean a home for life.
He's a small lizard.
He's only the size of a pencil,
and he eats ants.
This one tree could provide him with all he will ever need.
A conveyor belt of food.
It's a perfect place to settle down.
Well, it would be...
...but there's already someone here.
This larger male is the tree's owner and these lizards don't share.
The owner's flag is a warning.
Trespassers won't be tolerated.
The owner's not only intimidating,
he's prepared to battle.
A dead end.
Safety is a long way away.
Now he must choose.
Only in the jungle do you find lizards that can soar like dragons.
He can travel over ninety feet in a single leap.
It's a very fast and efficient way to move through the jungle.
Maybe this new tree will have food and no resident owner.
Everything in the jungle has to compete for space.
Only two percent of the sun's rays reach the ground,
so even the plants must battle
for the light they need if they're to grow.
Five hundred years ago, this tree began its race for light,
and, every day since,
it has absorbed the water and sunshine it needed to grow into a giant.
It has succeeded in doing what every tree must do to survive.
Rise above the gloom of the jungle floor.
And, what is more, its success has given life to others.
Its branches now carry a thousand other plants.
These particular ferns, figs and orchids
live only on the branches of other trees.
A thousand plants growing on one single tree.
Throughout the forest, this story is repeated endless times.
As a consequence,
jungles are home to more species of plants than anywhere else on Earth.
And they, in turn,
support a wealth of animals.
In Ecuador the competition is at its most intense.
Here they are a hundred species of hummingbirds alone.
All fighting for nectar.
Each flower only has a small amount at any one time,
and so it's first come, first served.
One hummingbird has gone to great lengths to avoid conflict with other species.
Sword bills are the only bird with a beak longer than their body.
And some flowers are too elongated for the other
Ninety nine species of hummingbirds here to feed from them.
A sword bill's extraordinary beak, however,
enables it to reach the places that others can't.
The top of this flower, where the sweet nectar is produced.
It has found a solution that means it doesn't have to join the fight.
And as each long flower blooms,
it gives the sword bill a fresh supply of food all to itself.
But having a beak longer than your body does have its drawbacks.
For a start,
it's tricky to keep it clean.
how do you preen your body feathers?
Unlike the other hummers,
sword bills can't reach their feathers with their beak.
The only option,
a good old scratch.
It's a little unrefined,
but a small price to pay for an exclusive food supply.
Especially when feeding times are only too frequently interrupted by storms.
Jungles are the richest places on Earth because of one remarkable fact.
They make their own weather.
Every day water rises from the surface of the leaves as vapor.
It's as if the trees breathe out clouds.
They gather over the forest,
Rain is the lifeblood of every jungle.
And all have to do their best to endure the daily downpour.
In some jungles, like here in Brazil,
it rains so much that for part of the year,
the trees are almost totally submerged.
The forest floor is thirty feet below the water's surface.
This is a mysterious world.
A place few people have ever explored.
We have much to discover about the animals for which this is home.
Including some you might never expect to find among trees.
Half a thousand miles from the sea,
A newly identified species of river dolphin found nowhere else on Earth.
In these black, tangled waters,
they have become almost totally blind,
so they move slowly,
carefully using their sonar to scan the forest floor for fish.
If this forest can hide a new species of dolphin,
what else might there be here,
At the shallow margins of the flooded jungle,
rivers flow through lush vegetation.
Here, food is so abundant,
it supports giants.
These are the biggest rodents in the world.
Giant otters, the size of a man.
And the rulers of these rivers.
They grow to ten feet long,
and kill anything they get between their jaws.
But there are more artful hunters drawn here from the surrounding forest.
A jaguar, the supreme jungle predator.
The river marks the edge of his territory.
But here, he has competition.
He's now in the territory of a female.
She has ruled this stretch of river for five years.
This is her place to hunt.
These rodents are strong and wary
The key is stealth.
She needs to get within several feet if she's to pounce.
Not this time.
She's not the only female here.
Each part of this jungle's edge is ruled by a different queen.
Few places on Earth have enough food
to support so many big cats.
The male hunts in a different way.
Weighing almost 150 kilos,
it's hard to be stealthy.
And with so many other jaguars around,
he doesn't bother with a wary rodent.
He seeks a different prey.
He's become a killer of killers.
jaguars have the most powerful bite...
...of any cat.
And he knows the caiman's most vulnerable point,
the back of its skull.
Hunters living in the dense understory of the jungle come in all shapes and sizes,
but they share a problem.
How to tell what is a plant and what is prey.
This is a game of hide and seek,
that can be won or lost in the blink of an eye.
The long contest between predator and prey
has produced mimicry of astounding accuracy.
A leaf-tailed gecko disguising itself as lichen.
Some animals take camouflage a stage further still.
And these streams in Costa Rica are home to one of the most remarkable.
A glass frog.
A male, and tiny,
no bigger than your fingernail,
and almost entirely transparent.
As he needs to be.
Almost everything that walks past here
could eat him.
Even a cricket.
His best chance is to stay absolutely still,
and trust that the cricket looks right through him.
and that's just as well,
because he is a father.
And he's guarding some very precious eggs.
For the last few weeks,
females, one after the other,
have visited him and entrusted him with their offspring.
Some are now almost ready to hatch.
There are several clutches on the leaf,
and those at the top,
the most recently laid,
are barely a day old.
But in the jungle,
there's always someone out to get you.
This wasp is a specialist hunter of frog's eggs.
It's noticed the wriggling tadpoles at the bottom of the leaf.
He must not move.
The youngest eggs are the most vulnerable,
and he can't guard them all.
But these tadpoles are not as helpless as they might appear.
Incredibly, the un-hatched tadpoles can sense danger,
and the oldest and strongest wriggle free,
and drop into the stream below.
The eggs at the top of the leaf, however,
are still too young to hatch,
and now the wasps know they're there.
But the male's back looks very like the youngest cluster of eggs.
And that seems to confuse the wasps.
Using his on body as decoy is a huge risk.
The wasps' stings could kill him.
He's managed to save most of his young.
He'll have to remain on guard for another two weeks.
But in the jungle,
just surviving the day can count as a success.
With the coming of the night,
a new cast of jungle characters takes to the stage.
Flying insects begin to glow as they search for mates.
Fungi, unlike plants,
thrive in the darkness of the forest floor.
They're hidden, until they begin to develop
the incredible structures with which they reproduce.
Each releases millions of tiny spores that drift invisibly away.
Many have fruiting bodies that reach upwards
to catch any feeble current there might be in the clammy air.
But this one, as it grows,
Why fungi light up has remained a mystery...
Scientists studying the brightest fungi in the world think they may have an answer.
Like a beacon,
the light attracts insects...
...from far and wide.
To this click beetle,
a bright light means only one thing,
a female click beetle.
So, he flashes in reply.
But he doesn't get the reception he was expecting.
Confused, he starts searching for a female and that helps the fungus.
By the time he gives up,
he's covered in fungus spores.
And as he continues his quest for a female,
he carries these spores to other parts of the forest.
And there are even stranger things glowing in the jungle night.
These are the multi-colored lights of a railroad worm.
It's not really a worm,
but a poisonous,
The yellow lights warn other creatures to keep out of its way.
It's hunting for millipedes.
When it finds the trail of one,
it switches off its yellow lights.
Now, it only has a red light on its head.
Millipedes can't see red light.
So, to them,
the railroad worm in stealth mode
is virtually invisible.
And that is the end of the millipede.
Competition in the jungles forces animals to specialize
in every aspect of their life, including courtship.
This has produced some of the most beautiful and elaborate displays on the planet.
A male red bird-of-paradise competing to attract a female by dancing.
One has come to survey what's on offer.
She is an independent lady and she will select whichever male takes her fancy.
She makes her choice.
But now she doesn't seem quite so sure.
Perhaps he's just a little too keen.
Maybe he'll have better luck tomorrow.
Red birds-of-paradise display in the tree tops.
Other members of the family dance in the gloom of the forest floor.
This is a Wilson's bird-of-paradise.
He's brightly colored,
but about the size of a sparrow.
He's lived most of his life alone.
But now he's an adult,
and he too needs to attract a mate.
This little patch of light might help him do so.
First, he tidies things up.
Showing off in this jumble of leaves wouldn't be easy,
and his beauty will stand out better against a plain background.
He doesn't want bright leaves to divert a visitor's attention.
They all need to go.
Even the green ones.
Especially the green ones.
His stage is set.