When is it worth sacrificing your life for the next generation?

The tempestuous sex lives of praying mantises have long been fodder for cartoons and trivia nights, but what really happens when these wonderfully weird insects procreate? Yes, the female sometimes eats the male during or after sex, but that’s not where the intrigue ends. Captured in astonishing (and occasionally harrowing) detail, this video from the science and nature documentary series Deep Look probes the latest in mantis-mating research, detailing why their seemingly strange ritual is actually a remarkable example of evolutionary efficiency. Read more about the video at KQED Science.

Video by KQED Science and PBS Digital Studios

Producer and Writer: Josh Cassidy

Narrator and Writer: Lauren Sommer

Support Aeon

‘Worldly and thought-provoking, there’s nothing on the internet quite like Aeon.’

Freddie W, USA, Friend of Aeon

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/Astronomy

Our aquatic universe

We know that the universe is awash with watery moons and planets. How can we pinpoint which of them could support life?

Tim Folger

Video/Ecology & Environmental Sciences

How to maintain infrastructure – the stunning collective intelligence of ant engineers

1 minutes

Idea/History of Science

Enlightenment rationality is not enough: we need a new Romanticism

Jim Kozubek

Essay/History of Science

Behold: science as seeing

One astronomer’s dimpled pie is another’s cratered moon. How can our mind’s eye learn to see the new and unexpected?

Gene Tracy

Video/Astronomy

The majestic Earth as seen through the eyes of astronauts orbiting above

6 minutes

Idea/Physics

Why symmetry gets really interesting when it is broken

Anthony Phillips