Short Natural History Videos

Hummingbirds biodiversity shorts.

Latest video. I recommend  with full screen and headphones!

Welcome to Biodiversity Shorts. My name is Marc Griffith and with these videos I plan to explore the stunning variety of life forms at all levels from large mammals to microscopic protozoa. In the process I will touch on some environmental issues that are causing the steep decline in biodiversity on this planet.

Everything you see here was created by myself. I do the filming, narration, editing and sound. Even some of the equipment was built by me. I strive to keep the quality high but please remember that I do not have the resources of outfits like the BBC and National Geographic. The music is an exception please look in the credits for the relevant artists.

Currently I am not working on Biodiversiy Shorts full time but hopefully one day I will. For this reason the frequency that I produce videos will not be regular however with every subscription, view, like and donation I will get closer to that goal. 

I will make every effort to keep this page updated but to guarantee to see my videos as soon as I post them please visit my associated youtube channel Biodiversity Shorts. Here you can also comment on my videos and ask questions.

You can also follow me on twitter @marclgriffith. Here you will also receive updates from my other two channels and any other random tweets I decide to make. Alternatively you can subscribe to the rss feed of this page.
Marc Griffith instagram
Masked Cardinal, Venezuela

018 - Soldier Crabs

posted Jan 18, 2017, 8:34 PM by Marc Griffith   [ updated Jan 18, 2017, 8:38 PM ]

Watch on youtube.

Soldier Crabs. Mictyris platycheles.

Up close and personal with soldier crabs on the northern coast of Tasmania, Australia. We will look at what they eat, the mechanics of how they feed and how they dig themselves into the sand. Don't forget big screen and headphones!

017 - Redback Spider

posted Feb 7, 2016, 11:38 PM by Marc Griffith   [ updated Mar 26, 2016, 7:00 PM ]

Redback Spider

Up close and personal with Australia's most well known spider, the Redback Spider. Latrodectus hasseltii
Although the redback spider has a nasty bite it is its specially designed web that makes it such an efficient killer. Watch it build this web, catch a few insects and discover what gives it such a brilliant red streak.

015 - Army Ants

posted Mar 4, 2015, 7:26 AM by Marc Griffith   [ updated Mar 26, 2016, 7:04 PM ]

Army Ants

Up close with army ants we even test out their ability to bite and sting.

Using powerful macro equipment and a microscope we get a unique look and this tiny subterranean predator. We watch them marching in columns, dismembering a beetle, attacking Marc, linking themselves together, floating on water and again biting the crap out of Marc.

We get a few under the microscope to look at the tiny hairs on their bodies, check if they have eyes or not, and discover a feature of ants that not many people may know about. 

Order: Hymenoptera
Family: Formicidae 
Subfamily: Dorylinae
Genus: Cheliomyrmex
Species: megalonyx

Apparently from my research this species of Army ant is very rare we are lucky enough to see these ants on the surface two or three times a year in our gardens in Ecuador.
They are small, blind, aggressive and pack a powerful sting. We have observed a reduction in the number of leaf cutter ants in the area after Cheliomyrmex ants have been sighted. Perhaps they are specialist hunters of other ant species which is certainly the case with other types of army ants.

Main references:

Japanese webiste with great photos:

014 - Blue-necked Tanager, Tangara cyanicollis

posted Jan 3, 2015, 5:59 AM by Marc Griffith   [ updated Mar 26, 2016, 7:07 PM ]

Blue-necked Tanager

WARNING, contains some footage that adults may find disturbing. (kids will love it)
Follow this family of tanagers from the eggs hatching to the chicks making their first flight.

Blue-necked Tanager, Tangara cyanicollis

All Music is from the Youtube creators audio library.

013 - A very small caterpillar.

posted Jan 2, 2015, 8:31 AM by Marc Griffith   [ updated Mar 26, 2016, 7:09 PM ]

Pollen catterpillar

He has an awesome house and I estimate he is less than 4mm long. Have you seen one smaller?

012 - Single Shot Shorts

posted Jan 2, 2015, 8:27 AM by Marc Griffith   [ updated Mar 26, 2016, 7:20 PM ]

Quite often we manage to get some fantastic footage but it just has no context in a full episode. So we created the Single Shot Short. A simple clip usually with no voice over. Check the video descriptions for more detail. Single shot shorts can be easily identified by the light blue title. There is also a special playlist over on Youtube. 

Strawberry time-lapse

This strawberry was shot over one week under a combination of red, green and blue LEDs that were left constantly on.

I really expected the strawberry to begin rotting, growing mould and attracting fruit flies but the intensity of the light was enough to prevent any fungus growth on all but the bottom of the strawberry. 

The LEDs were even strong enough to quickly kill the insects that managed to get inside the enclosure.

The result: an LED dried strawberry that might just be edible.

I will most probably add an arduino to this time-lapse machine so it can do it in the dark and just turn on the lights when taking a photo.

White tailed hillstar

Feeding on a very obliging pink banana that has its own built in hummingbird perch.
I have cheated here a little, the audio from this clip is from a different hummingbird, the Green Violet Ear.

Inca Jay

I had been trying for years to get close to these birds. The locals tend to shoot them for eating their corn. This family realised that the camera was not a gun and decided to come in very close to investigate. I got quite a show for several minutes.

011 - Beautiful Moths

posted Jul 16, 2014, 7:49 PM by Marc Griffith   [ updated Mar 26, 2016, 7:32 PM ]


This video is celebrating moth week: 

Like butterflies, moths can also be very colourful. Camouflage is one reason that moths have such varied shapes and colours. Some moths are poisonous and display this fact using bright contrasting colours. Others are mimics and shape their bodies so that they look like a more dangerous animal, such as a wasp or even the face of a bird or snake.

INDEX: If anyone can identify species I will add it here. (index is clickable from the youtube description).

0:42 Start of moth footage.
1:56 Wasp mimics.
2:21 Other insects attracted to the light.
3:30 A moth pretending to be a scorpion?

If you are interested in the gear that I use to shoot Biodiversity Shorts please visit.

010 - Microscopic pond life.

posted Jun 25, 2014, 3:53 PM by Marc Griffith   [ updated Mar 26, 2016, 7:34 PM ]

Marc gets a sample of slime from a pond near the Zunag river in Ecuador and then puts it under the microscope so see what is there.

The setup that I show in the video is a later one to that which I took the original shots.
It was the same olympus microscope but rather than with the teleconverter I had unscrewed the top lens of the eyepiece and then mounted the camera on top of that with a tube, very budget but it worked!
I am getting much better results with the new setup, of course it is still evolving and I will have another video using it soon. 


Microscopic pond life.

Thanks for watching, please subscribe, like and tell your friends.

The index below is clickable in the youtube description.

1:52 - Tadpole
3:17 - Paramecium - Thanks to Carlos and Rik, I have since learned that this is probably not Paramecium still it is some sort of Ciliate Protozoa. 
4:06 - Bacteria
4:53 - Amoeba - Protozoa
5:05 - Peranema - Flagellate Protozoa
6:18 - Diatom
6:39 - Spirogyra
7:27 - Filamentous Bacteria
8:15 - Chironomidae, Midge Fly Larvae

009 - Ogre-faced Spider, missed.

posted Jun 8, 2014, 9:00 AM by Marc Griffith   [ updated Mar 26, 2016, 7:36 PM ]

Ogre faced spider

From the family Deinopidae, these spiders are also known as net casting spiders. The 'net' that they cast is actually quite complicated and it takes the spider about 20 minutes to create it from scratch. The thicker net threads have the ability to stretch a great deal enabling the Ogre faced spider to spread it wide of her target.
The ogre faced spider detects is prey by sight with two of its greatly enlarged eyes which are adapted for nocturnal hunting.
I have since discovered more of these spiders in my garden and have even observed one with its trap set up horizontally on a tree trunk. Hopefully in the future I will have a longer video on this fascinating spider.

If you are interested in the gear that I use to shoot Biodiversity Shorts please visit the gear section of this website.

Thanks for watching, 

008 - Katydid Camouflague

posted Jun 8, 2014, 8:57 AM by Marc Griffith   [ updated Mar 26, 2016, 7:37 PM ]

A Single Shot Short. 

Katyid Camouflage

This Katydid was very well hidden. Even his legs are evolved to look like the surrounding moss.

Katydid is the common name for insects in the family Tettigoniidae. These also include crickets and grasshoppers.

Shot with a Minolta Auto Bellows Rokkor 100mm F4.
Click here for more information on the gear I use.

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