Video 4: Nature's Recycling Squad-Insects and Spiders at Work

For all their biodiversity, rainforest soils are thin, with most nutrients locked up in tree trunks, branches, and leaves. Due to this unique distribution of nutrients, rainforests depend upon termites and insects of all kinds to recycle dead matter into food for new life.

  •  "Leaf-Cutters and Leaf-Keepers" provides a close-up look at two different species of ants with two different survival strategies.
  •  "The Web of Life" examines an unusual group of spiders that live together and hunt cooperatively, transferring energy from their smaller prey to the birds and other higher organisms that eat these same spiders.
  •  "Energy Transfer" explains how termites break down the tough cellulose found in tree trunks and branches, distributing to other organisms the matter and energy otherwise locked up in wood.
  • Through the video and related activities students will:

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