S36 Ep12

Sex, Lies and Butterflies

Premiere: 4/4/2018 | 00:00:35 |

Explore the astounding abilities of butterflies – deceptive camouflage, chemical weaponry, and fantastic flight. Look beyond their bright colors and fragile beauty as you follow them on one of the greatest migrations on Earth.

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About the Episode

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. Narrated by Paul Giamatti.

Noteworthy Facts:

  • 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.

Buzzworthy Moments:

  • 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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NARRATED BY
PAUL GIAMATTI

PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY
ANN JOHNSON PRUM

WRITTEN BY
JANET HESS

CINEMATOGRAPHY
MARK CARROLL
RUSSELL KAYE
ANN JOHNSON PRUM

ADDITIONAL CINEMATOGRAPHY
RONAN DONOVAN
LANCE HOLLAND

SOUND
ROBIN KLEIN

EDITOR
JIM ISLER

ASSISTANT EDITOR
NATHAN PUNWAR

MUSIC COMPOSED BY
DAVID MITCHAM

SOUND DESIGN
STEFAN K. FIEDLER JIM ISLER

RE-RECORDING MIXERS
ED CAMPBELL STEFAN K. FIEDLER

COLORIST
LEE NIEDERKOFLER

ONLINE EDITOR
VICTORIA DICK

ARCHIVE
DAYS EDGE PRODUCTIONS
SHUTTERSTOCK
AARON POMERANTZ

SPECIAL THANKS
ARGONNE NATIONAL LABS
ARIZONA-SONORA DESERT MUSEUM
BARBER LAB
BIRD WATCHERS HOUSE
BUTTERFLY WONDERLAND
BRYAN PFIEFER
THE CATERPILLAR LAB
EAGLE HILL INSTITUTE
ENCYCLOMEDIA
FRED GAGNO
GORONGOZA NATIONAL PARK
HUGH MCGUINESS
MCGUIRE CENTER, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
MAGIC WINGS BUTTERFLY CONSERVATORY
MOUNTAIN LAKES BIOLOGICAL STATION
NATIONAL BUTTERFLY CENTER
PATEL LAB, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKLEY RAINFOREST EXPEDITIONS
SAM JAFFEE
SWALLOWTAIL FARM
SIEMBRA FARM
SUSTAINABLE PRISONS PROJECT
TAMBOPATA RESEARCH CENTER
YALE UNIVERSITY, PEABODY MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
JULIE ZICKEFOOSE

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
MELANIE QUINN

PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS
SUSAN CURRIER
VINICIO PEREZ
AUGUST PRUM
ANNE TOFFLEMIRE

PRODUCTION MANAGER
TRAUDE BOTHA

POST PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR
MICHAEL FRÖCH

LINE PRODUCER
ALDO METZELAAR

UNIT MANAGER
DINAH CZEZIK-MÜLLER

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS
IVO FILATSCH SABINE HOLZER

FOR NATURE

SERIES EDITOR
JANET HESS

SENIOR PRODUCER
LAURA METZGER LYNCH

COORDINATING PRODUCER
JAYNE JUN

ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
JAMES BURKE

LEGAL COUNSEL
BLANCHE ROBERTSON

DIGITAL PRODUCER
ERIC R. OLSON

SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR
WHITNEY McGOWAN

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT
CHELSEY SAATKAMP

BUDGET CONTROLLER
JAYNE LISI

ONLINE EDITOR
STACEY DOUGLASS MOVERLEY

ORIGINAL FUNDING PROVIDED IN PART BY
THE ARNHOLD FAMILY IN MEMORY OF CLARISSE ARNHOLD
THE HALMI FAMILY IN MEMORY OF ROBERT HALMI, SR.
SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III
KATE W. CASSIDY FOUNDATION
LILLIAN GOLDMAN CHARITABLE TRUST
FILOMEN M. D’AGOSTINO FOUNDATION
ROSALIND P. WALTER
SANDRA ATLAS BASS
MARY AND JAMES G. WALLACH FOUNDATION
BRADLEY L. GOLDBERG FAMILY FOUNDATION
SUSAN R. MALLOY, JENNIFER M. COMBS, TIMON J. MALLOY AND THE SUN HILL FOUNDATION
THE ARLENE AND MILTON D. BERKMAN PHILANTHROPIC FUND
CORPORATION FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING

SERIES PRODUCER
BILL MURPHY

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
FRED KAUFMAN

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