ANIMALS LIKE US: WILD WILD WEB

Social insects, like bees, ants or termites have always fascinated men by the perfection of their organization.

But without their ability to secrete a substance (wax, glue, pheromones..) insects would never have been induced to become organized. The first groupings were enabled by con- structive secretions such as silk, a magical fiber that builds, unites, and speaks. Among all the differ- ent animal secretions, silk is a formidable medium of information which encourages social interac- tions.

Strange silk spinners like caterpillars, webspinners, spiders, some termites and certain ants use silk as an « intelligent » substance. It becomes a real weapon used by these societies to protect them- selves against predators. This extraordinary substance serves as means of both communication, transportation, as well as protection, nourishment, and reproduction. The social life of these insects and spiders is organized around these web-networks, with silk serving as a foundation for the com- munity. In their colonies, which sometimes gather several thousand individuals, these tiny animals each seem to go about their own business, the group however is highly organized even though there is no leader. This is what scientists call swarm intelligence (or collective intelligence). Through the study of these animal societies, they have created computer software with virtual insects which cooperate to solve complex problems like data routing in crowded telecommunication networks. This is very useful for the internet and telecommunication technologies because such networks are not supervised and must react quickly to face heavy data flow.

The techniques of macro-cinematography, endoscopy and electronic microscopy allow us to enter into the tiny and intimate universe of social insects and spiders and discover the secrets of the silk spinners.


Details: 52′

Written and directed by Nicolas GABRIEL

International festival of insect film, Narbonne, France – Special award

European Film Festival- Valvert, Belgium – Best commentary Cristal Eagle award

Bird and wildlife festival, Abbeville, France – Best scenario and best special effects award

5th FIFALE festival, Rabat, Morocco – Bronze Crane Award