Titles in French and English help us know what we're seeing. In all waters, daphnia abound. They are crustaceans about 2 ml long, with one eye that turns in all directions. Antennae enable ... See full summary »
A close-up look at sand urchins and rock urchins. At the seashore, a man digs up a sand urchin. We look closely. He sets it back in the sand, and it burrows out of sight. Its intestines ... See full summary »
We begin on planet Earth, with a demonstration of measuring distances using triangulation. Then, an imaginary voyage begins from earth to the moon, on to Mars, Saturn, the closest star (... See full summary »
At a marine biology station, a clump of algae reveals polyps, stomachs with limbs, limbs with buds, buds with poison cells. This animal reproduces by buds, which we watch close up in ... See full summary »
An enthusiastic grandfather sits with children in a Parisian park talking about pigeons. First. their physical appearance - eye, wings and tail, and color - and their varieties. Then, he ... See full summary »
An octopus slithers into a narrow crack near the shore; we see its eye up close; blowing water propels it through water. It feeds on a crab. In spring it's time to mate. A male grabs a ... See full summary »
After a comic introduction, we look closely at a shrimp. Eyes on stilts, color patterns, pinchered walking feet, a rostrum. We watch shrimp eat using a strong claw and a fine one; we watch ... See full summary »
In a freshwater pond, it's "eat or be eaten." A dragonfly larva eats a midge; a water beetle larva eats a damselfly larva. Snail larvae grow. A beetle larva eats one. Up close, we see the eating apparatus of a damselfly larva -- with a retractable hook beneath mandibles. Some creatures bite and chew, others suck. A water beetle larva holds on to its prey, injects a poison that turns the victim's insides to soup, and then sucks it dry. We watch one eat a damselfly larvae and then another water beetle larva. Some have ingenious ways to camouflage themselves, like the water scorpion, and to breathe air while hunting under water. Caddisfly larvae hide in debris, then eat.Written by
It's eat or be eaten, and sometimes both, accompanied by hot jazz and plenty of frantic drumming in Painlevé's survey of the life in a nice freshwater pond. It turns out it's full of hideous creatures, all hungry all the time and attacking each other in various disgusting ways, sure to send anyone who likes the occasional dip in clean water over to the nearest swimming pool and its nice, safe, dead, chlorinated water.
It's clear evidence of Painlevé's black humor and clear supporting evidence in why your mother -- well mine, anyway -- told me not to go swimming right after eating. Watching a beautiful dragonfly hover above the water, one would never guess how bizarrely its larvae dine, nor imagine that the deadly scorpion has an even more chthonic cousin that lives in the water.
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