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Fighting, feeding and fucking, to paraphrase the sainted David Attenborough, are the orders of the day for Sky’s latest foray into three-dimensional nature programming (simulcast on Sky1 for those of us still dismisssing 3D TV as a fad). The praying mantis, of course, can – and indeed does – combine all three, delivering exactly the right combination of awe and disgust for us viewers.
This six-part series is not for the faint-hearted. Other memorable bug-on-bug tussles tonight include scorpion v centipede, mantis v bombardier beetle and stick insect v huntsman spider. In each case, the defence is at least as impressive as the attack – perhaps the ultimate example of which comes in the shape of the brilliantly named ‘pie dish beetle’ (only in Australia); but kudos too to the ingenious assassin bug, which coats itself in the husks of past victims to infiltrate the dens of potential new ones.
Big Dave provides the context and a little of the light anthropomorphism to which he’s become partial of late, and the whole thing just flies by. ‘Life on Earth’ for the Top Trumps generation.