Alien Insect: Praying Mantis

Ratings: 7.42/10 from 12 users.


Alien Insect: Praying MantisThe film enters the world of a real-life alien: the praying mantis. This macro documentary shows the life cycle and behavior of the most formidable and rarest representatives of the mantis family, including several that have never been filmed before.

World-wide, there exist some 2,200 species of this bizarre insect family, most of them in the subtropical and tropical zones, a few in the temperate zones of the Old an the New World.

Wherever they live and whatever their size, they share one gruesome feature: Every mantis is a perfect killing machine, a living steel trap. Anything but prayerful, mantises prey on everything that moves and can be overwhelmed.

Praying mantis get their name from the appearance of their front legs, which they hold in a prayerlike manner.

There are many species of mantises worldwide. One species in Sri Lanka may reach 10 inches in length, and like other large species from South America, these large mantises may prey on insects, small birds and reptiles.

Though mantises have wings, they do not migrate. They fly more at night, which makes them more susceptible to predation by bats. Females lay their egg cases in the autumn, and one generation of mantises develops each season.

More great documentaries

44 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Aaylsworth

    Gruesome and intriguing. The narration and transition of music when showing the humming birds being attacked was amusing. Good watch!

  2. Anthony Pirtle

    Alien Praying Mantis Mummies From Hell!

  3. Winston Smith

    I love you!! -whomever it is that maintains this site...and puts all these great docs in one place. Im sure it's a lot of work. Thank you.

  4. knowledgeizpower

    LoL! Cool Video eww Bugs..Peace

  5. Guest

    I'm not a bug man, never have been, but I must say, there's some spectacular footage here, sharp, vivid colors, and snapping little mandibles. With that latter in mind, I might also add: What some poor, hapless little fellows will go through, all for a piece of tail.

  6. Lee Sun

    I want one as a PET!

  7. Elise Perry

    The overdubbed eating noises were really distracting/annoying- but seeing one go after a snake was AWESOME!

  8. panthera

    disgusting creatures.

  9. PaulGloor

    I used to find those foam casings all over the place where I grew up... Didn't know what the heck they were !

  10. Jack1952

    The children with the mantis in the jar brought a wave of nostalgia. My brother and I and some of the neighbor kids used to stage praying mantis fights. We were 11 or 12 at the time. We spent a good part of the school break one summer searching the fields to replace the losers of those battles. It never occurred to us to try to feed it a field mouse though. Had we seen this doc back then I'm sure we would have tried to reward the champ with one. We were such rotten little kids.

    A great documentary.

  11. Guest

    Man, that is a great story. My 8 year-old found one out in the back yard last Summer and was positively delighted. We put it in a jar for an hour or so, but then I caved in and made him let it go.
    I'm such a pussy, lol.

  12. Guest

    Do they ever bite ? They look like they could give your finger a good chew if they felt like it.

  13. Guest

    This was great, I pulled faces all the way through. They're horrid! I need one on spiders now so I can hide behind the settee, haven't done that in years :/

  14. Guest

    No they don't bite. As kids we used to collect their egg sacks which are properly called casings. Got a nickel apiece for them.

  15. Guest

    What use are they? Why did people buy them from you, to keep as pets or bug control or something?

  16. Guest

    How come?(reminiscent of a popular kid's question) Why would they not bite humans? Nothing stops a moskito.

  17. Guest

    Well when you say bug control you are right. These MF's are voracious. They eat bugs because it's fun. We would sell them to gardeners and farmers.

  18. Guest

    A skeeter and a mantis eat different things. Mantis do bite but what the hell when you're a kid.

  19. Jack1952

    I have never heard of them biting anyone but we always assumed they could. We were always careful about keeping our fingers away from that ferocious looking head. Had one of us been bitten I doubt that would have deterred us one bit from our fun.

  20. Guest

    I think you were just lucky, I bet they cling like a hamster when they get a hold, that's what my irrational fear is telling me anyway :)

  21. Jack1952

    My brother and I kept a veritable zoo of turtles, snakes, frogs, toads, rabbits, newts, salamanders, etc in one of the old chicken coops. As far as I know my father never knew. It was a carefree life growing up on a farm.

  22. Guest

    It doesn't hurt, at least the mantis in the South and they were pretty big.

  23. Jack1952

    We used to get bit so often by mosquitoes when we were kids we wouldn't even itch anymore. We would sometimes let one bite us and then with our thumb and forefinger squeeze our skin with the mosquito in between. This would cause our skin to clamp onto the stinger so it couldn't escape. The blood would keep flowing and its abdomen would expand until it finally exploded. Like I said, we were rotten little kids.

  24. Guest

    On the contrary, it probably would've been like a badge of honor, after you all got done laughing about it.

  25. Guest

    "Cling like a hamster"!
    That's such a funny image... Slinging that little bast*rd around, trying to shake him off your finger. XD.

  26. Guest

    Pit bulls of the rodent world, everyone knows it.

  27. Draw Vinette

    Excellent photography! I really enjoyed this informative HD program on the Praying Mantis. I can only imagine the amount of time and effort required to capture these scenes. Well done!

  28. Yavanna

    Short but sweet doc. If only all americana docs were this good.

  29. His Forever

    Well, that was interesting. I just absolutely hated seeing the humming birds get eaten by a praying mantis. I think I would have been very tempted to save them if I had been the camera man.

  30. knowledgeizpower

    I know right aww the poor hummmingbird it was too pretty to get eaten!

  31. P.M. Rangarajan

    Well I remember an incident with Praying Mantis in Anamalais in South India. We were on a trek and and came across a really large PM sun bathing on a twig on the ground. A big yellow centipede came around the corner and PM raised its front legs in defiance. Despite its size, the centipede was stunned and trying to find an escape route. The face-off lasted nearly five minutes and Pm made a dash at the centipede, which scampered to safety. The front legs of the PM was blue in color with an extendable pouch like muscles splashed with many iridiscent colors. It was a wonderful sight. Thanks for the wonderful documentary. I relived my memory.

  32. Scott Whitaker

    What a great documentary film. It had to be very difficult to capture some of this footage. Bravo!

  33. Marianne Mills

    The dubbed eating noises are annoying, so (for me) is the overly dramatic VO and the fact that so many scenes were 'never seen before', the reason for that, I assume is that never before has a documentary team deliberately placed a PM (and a handful of corn I would think) right beside a chicken, put a (probably captive bred) snake in the path of a PM or handed a PM a humming bird to eat. Needless waste of life and totally staged.

  34. ruffkutt

    There is a metaphorical parallel between mantis mating and human mating. Just ask any married man :-))

  35. Paul Murphy

    i used to keep them as a kid. There claws can hurt a bit if they find some tender skin. and a far as biting, yes i will hurt! But you would have to let it chew away at your skin until it gets deep enough to cause pain. There actually fun to keep and become quite used to being handled.

  36. Guest

    Way too ugly to keep as a pet, not my kind of thing at all, and they can move their heads to look at you - freaky. I like insects that dont know your there, that way they dont get the urge to savage you :)

  37. Achems_Razor

    50 4 40,

    Well, you can always blindfold them, handcuffs anyone?

  38. Guest

    No problem with blindfolds but cuffs ? A fine English leather bridle is more to my taste ;)

  39. Ray Kehoe

    hahahaha i find them fasenateing felt sorry for the bird doe

  40. MoolaMails

    I love these types of movies, I even got my 2 year old daughter to watch it with me, she liked it as well. Mantises are sure tough creatures, I got startled with one that was on me recently and stepped on it, the thing was still alive, I felt bad and had to put it out of it's misery but wish that I didn't get startled and gently let it go.

  41. Epicurean_Logic

    Coolest insect ever. They even keep your cannabis plant free from parasites.

  42. Epicurean_Logic

    If only I had evolved from a mantis ancestor. I could eat my girlfriends head when she became a pain in the back side and she would continue to have sex with me for another 15 minutes or so. Cr.ap it is the other way around... she would eat my head and my penis would continue to work.


  43. oQ

    You know your cannabis, those plants are all girls that's why they're so potent, even the parasites want a nible.

  44. Epicurean_Logic

    Yep there is a funny video about is on you tube - I gave up many years ago. The mantis patrols and prowls the cannabis patch like predator in his back yard, bouncing and bossing the patch. It is so cool to watch.

    Also see spiders on drugs by the Canadian wildlife service.

Leave a comment / review: