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Today in Research Video: Last Tango in Paris as Performed by Praying Mantises

• September 20, 2012 • 5:30 AM

This stunning video of a praying mantis making a meal of another praying mantis, linked to yesterday in our item on killer whales, turns out to be way more than it seemed.

A product of filmmaker Phil Hastings, a visual arts professor at the State University of New York’s Freedonia campus, the video is part of an effort to marry scientific research to multimedia. On its Vimeo page, the video is identified as “an initial proof of concept for cross-discipline studies between biology and visual arts and new media.” As a way of illustrating research, it’s hard to imagine anything drawing you in better.

We’ve seen this movie before: the praying mantis is a classic subject for nature photography. So it’s remarkable that Hastings is able to do anything new with such familiar images, and successfully surprise us with aspects of the natural world that we thought we knew already. Experiments in making complex research accessible don’t get much more striking.


Marc Herman
Marc Herman is a writer in Barcelona. He is the author of The Shores of Tripoli.

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