Importance of Natural Resources

Ants vs. Praying Mantis

Warning: What you’re about to see in this
video will blow your mind! Keeping an ant colony is very much like caring
for a growing city. You starts small, with just a few pioneering
members, but over time, you find yourself managing a booming metropolis with a massive
population. But what do you do when the population of
ants reaches a point of unsustainability? Welcome to the Hacienda Del Dorado, home of
our mighty Golden Empire, our huge colony of Yellow Crazy Ants who are so close to outgrowing
their space, resources, and even food. If you’ve been following this channel for
awhile, you know that this ant empire has conquered some incredible past events that
have only strengthen them. These ants have survived a mite plague, they’ve
even survived carnivorous plants in their lands, so today I was about to try something
I never ever thought I’d attempt. The Golden Empire’s unchecked population absolutely
needed to be controlled somehow and fast, so I was left with no choice, but to resort
to the introducion of a very well-known predator to help curb their population. Today, we will be releasing into the Hacienda
Del Dorado, a praying mantis. But will the praying mantis survive against
our Golden hoarde. Who will end up eating who? You won’t want to miss a single action-packed
moment, as well as a surprise revelation of what else I found living inside the Hacienda
Del Dorado, so keep on watching until the end! AC Family, today we discover just how complex
the predator-prey relationship can be in the world of insects, in this episode of the AntsCanada
Ant Channel. Please subscribe to my channel and hit the
bell icon. Welcome to the AC Family. Enjoy. Check out the Hacienda Del Dorado today. It is amazing to see how much this terrarium
has evolved and changed over time. It seems every month the terrain and relationships
between the living things inhabitting these lands evolve. What I find the most impressive is the vegetation
in this terrarium. These lands have developed into a magical
and wild rainforest! Check out these vines of the ficus that have
carpeted all areas of the terrarium. It is by far the main botanical monopolizer
of these territories. And what’s amazing is that it also has begun
to climb and attach itself to the glass. The roots are so effective at helping the
ficus’ vines climb that the ficus plant manages to cling onto microscopic ridges in the glass
surface. With all these plants that seemingly rule
this world, it doesn’t seem like we have an ant population problem at all. In fact, it even seems that there are less
ants seen than normal. But don’t be fooled, AC Family, for below
all the plant cover working silently but relentlessly are workers of the Golden Empire. All these towering plants everywhere have
interestingly created a variety of different niches and sections with their own microclimates
and unique spaces within the terrarium, which the Golden Empire is enjoying now more than
ever. With a closer look at these bare areas, you
will see that ant activity is still busy as usual. The Golden Empire still never sleeps and is
ready to get drastic at any moment. Their grossly huge population is most evident
at feeding time. Watch what happens, AC Family, when I place
a roach into here. Once a few members are made aware of the cockroach,
it isn’t long before a mass of ants come ravaging the cockroach. So as you can see, this colony which last
we checked had 8 queens, but may possibly have more is still growing and active as ever. They are actually running out of space, and
soon, their demands for food may be hard for me to keep up with. This colony is now up to 5 adult cockroaches
a night and a jar of small honey every 3-5 days. That’s a lot of food! So you see, I absolutely needed to cut down
their population but in a way that was natural and humane. Adding carnivorous plants didn’t seem to work
in the past. They only became insectivorous for a short
period of time, and the ants eventually started piling dead insect parts into the pitcher
plants rendering the pitcher plants ineffective when they were in insectivorous mode! I also found that the pitcher plants created
pitchers in seasons, and it was now an off season. No pitchers had grown from the stems. But I know what some of you might be thinking. Is adding a major predator into the territory
of the Golden Empire a wise choice? After all, a few months ago we attempted the
introduction of some giant millipedes into this terrarium to try to control the plant
life, but in the end they disappeared after that. We never saw them again, and it has been months
since that introduction, so it was safe to say the millipedes sadly had not survived
the Golden Empire. But hold on. Ready for the plot twist? As I filmed the Golden Empire feasting on
their roach, a tiny movement caught my eye. It was a little peach-coloured creature. It crawled inconspicuously on the surface
of the soil, unphased by the ants that clamoured about. My goodness, AC Family! I couldn’t believe my eyes. This was a baby millipede! The same species of the those that we added
several months ago. In fact, not only did I spot 1, but I spotted
several all around the terrarium! This was amazing! This meant that not only were the millipedes
that we introduced alive in here, but they also were breeding! The millipede introduction attempt was surprisingly
successful! In fact, the baby millipedes crawled under
and through the ants’ legs, and the ants didn’t seem to notice or care about the millipedes
being around. The two species were now living amicably together
and sharing living space! It was just an incredible thing to discover. OK, before we move on, please leave your suggestions
for names for the millipedes in this terrarium in the comments section and I will choose
my favourites for the AC Family to vote on in a future video. So you see, it certainly was possible for
some major creatures to live in here with the Golden Empire. The state of the land just needed to be right. I believed that with all this lush plant cover,
new niches, varied topography, and generally more places to hide and live apart from each
other, it made cohabitation and sharing of living space a much easier matter for all
the inhabitants of the Hacienda Del Dorado. This was why I strongly felt that if we were
to introduce a predator into these lands, now was a good time to do it, more so than
before. So AC Family, let’s meet her, shall we? Above the Hacienda Del Dorado, awaiting in
her own holding cell, was our predator of choice. Behold, Hierodula sp., an Asian Praying Mantis. Isn’t she just a beautiful specimen? Wow! Our asian praying mantis here is just a juvenile
measuring about an inch long. She is an awesome brown colour, but her species
also comes in a bright green variety. If her abdomen wasn’t showing signs of breathing,
I could have easily not seen her against a natural background, as she stood perfectly
still. As the name suggests, they are native to the
tropics of southeast Asia and are actually among the largest of mantises. In fact, as adults they can reach up to 10
centimetres or 3.9 inches in body length, excluding extended forelegs. Perhaps my favourite feature are her eyes! Just look at them! Her eye sight is absolutely on point, and
those big eyes see extremely well. Her head is capable of turning 360 degrees
allowing her to see all areas around her easily. They need good vision to hunt. Mantises like this young lady here are voracious
predators, and at this size, she is the perfect predator to feed on selected members of the
Golden Empire, and thereby be a living, natural population stabilizer. I chose her for a few reasons. First, I knew praying mantises were naturally
voracious eaters, as they are even cannibalistic in nature, often eating their own kind! This meant that she could eat many ants, as
this was greatly needed. Second, I also knew she had the skills and
capabilities to survive against the ravenous Golden Empire within this terrarium. Take her keen eye sight, for instance. Not only were those eyes and fully rotating
head adept for hunting, but they were also perfect for avoiding being hunted. I knew she would be able to spot any approaching
Golden Empire worker, giving her enough chance to escape to safety if needed. They are also extremely intelligent creatures,
and you can almost see her thinking behind that hypnotic gaze. I knew she had the brains to get away if she
needed to. This species of mantis is also extremely agile,
and inhabits shrubs and trees. She can jump around twice her body length,
especially at this age! It was for this reason that I installed a
network of refuge vines for her, which were not in contact with the ground, glass sides,
nor plants of the Hacienda Del Dorado, meaning she could retreat to it if she needed to,
but the ants who weren’t capable of jumping, would not have been able reach her there. Finally, I chose this species as a predator
for the Hacienda Del Dorado because of her evolved method of killing. Of course, we love all insects on this channel,
and even do our best to dispatch prey insects as quickly and humanely as possible. Those huge, razor sharp spines on the forelegs
of this mantis were specially designed to kill prey effectively and quickly. I knew that if she were to kill our ants,
the death blow would be fast and quick, no venom, no prolonged agonizing death. So AC Family, it was time to do this. It was time to introduce this asian praying
mantis, an evolutionary ant-eating machine to help us control the population of the Golden
Empire. Here we go. 1 – 2 – 3. I transported the mantis onto a vine branch. Without a fight, she accepted her new perch. I held my breath. Instantly, she spotted the ants moving all
around her. She was clearly awake and stimulated, but
she stayed perfectly still. Over the next hour, I watched as she examined
and seemed to study the Golden Empire, who were obviously not aware of her presence. All she did over the next few hours was watch
and study, but not move. Can you believe that for almost 4 hours she
stayed perfectly still in the same spot, at which I’d deposited her? And then finally, the mantis began to move. Like a stick blowing in the wind, she swayed
back and forth, moving bit by bit in such a gradual manner. I couldn’t believe how careful and patient
she was at moving in this way. It was important that mantises moved like
this, because most of their natural prey, like flies, bees, and butterflies all have
very good vision, so moving in this manner helped them remain unnoticed to their prey. Their colouration also worked well at concealing
their outline and shape in the entanglement of branches. All of this was also essential at keeping
them from becoming prey. The mantis eventually stopped movement and
remained still once again, simply watching the ants. I wonder if she was thinking and assessing
whether she was capable of picking off a worker ant. I almost felt like she knew that if she was
going to go in and feed on the ants, she definitely couldn’t rush it and absolutely needed to
take her time and plot out how she could snatch an ant without alarming the rest of the Golden
Empire. Like a calculating lioness, she studied the
ants below her, looking for a solo worker, perhaps one that showed signs of weakness
or unawareness. Again for another few hours, I sat and watched,
waiting for her to make another move, but it seemed she was going to really take her
time. This is something that the nature shows on
TV usually don’t show you: the amount of time and care that is invested in waiting for the
opportune moment, and the calculating that happens during these hunts. In the mantis world, patience was key. It was important that she chose the right
opportunity to strike, lest she alarm the rest of the colony and become a meal herself. She wasn’t stupid nor clumsy. Suddenly, when I thought she wasn’t going
to move all day, when I almost was not looking, like a cat she suddenly leaped right into
ant territory, at the exact moment I hit the record button. And there she was, now standing in a location
fully vulnerable and fully accessible to the Golden Empire, who still hadn’t yet noticed
her. She kept her composure, as our yellow crazy
ants moved about below her. My heart was racing watching this scene unfold. Suddenly, she began to move, again with her
stealthy swaying motion, down the stem of the pitcher plant she landed on, and in that
moment, in a flash she snatched a Golden Empire worker and began to feed. The worker ant seemed like a tiny meal in
her forearms, and indeed in less than two minutes, she had finished consuming the ant
and proceeded to clean herself. Now we knew, she had a taste for ants. She was indeed going to be an effective population
control for the Golden Empire, but I began to wonder if she would also compete with the
Golden Empire for food. Sometimes, I feed the Golden Empire baby cockroaches,
and so for observation purposes, I wanted to see how our praying mantis would react
to prekilled baby cockroaches. As soon as she saw them around her she moved
in but was careful not to get caught up in the clutches of the Golden Empire. One wrong move, and she would have become
prey to her own food! She watched and studied. And oh no, here comes a Golden Empire worker
right now. Smelling the air with her antennae reaching
out, it was evident that the ant had picked up the possible precence of a guest. The mantis reared back as the ant investigated
with her antennae. If this ant were to detect the mantis there,
she surely would have informed the rest of the colony and this mantis would have been
dead meat! But lucky for the mantis, the ant decided
there was nobody there. The mantis remained unnoticed. Suddenly, when the right time came, the mantis
spotted an unclaimed baby cockroach and went in for the kill. She snatched it with lightning speed. Like a monkey that had just snatched its bounty,
the mantis climbed to a safer area to proceed to eat the cockroach. As she ate, I watched as ants began to detect
the scent of the dying cockroach and came investigating around her, but she simply lifted
legs away, and at one point even flung an ant off her nonchallantly. I was not worried for her survival in the
Hacienda Del Dorado at all! I knew she could fend for herself in these
lands, and I was also taking notes. I was not to feed small prey insects to the
Golden Empire, lest she steal from them. So, my plans were to allow her to reside in
the Hacienda Del Dorado until she grew to a size where she was no longer interested
in feeding on ants, and release her back into the wild, perhaps replacing her with another
juvenile mantis. I will surely keep you all updated on her
progress and if she proves effective at controlling the population of the Golden Empire. So AC Family, go ahead! You know the drill! What shall we name this mantid empress and
new habitant of these territories? Leave your name suggestions in the comments
and I will choose my top favourites for the AC Family to vote on in a future video. Guys, if you enjoyed this video please give
it a thumbs up, let me know what you thought, and if you’re not part of the AC Family yet,
hit that subscribe button so you can join us every week, as we discover more and more
the epic lives of ants. It’s ant love forever! Alright, AC Family, before we continue on
to the AC Question of the Week, I’d like to thank Mr. JP Raguro, a mantid keeper friend
of mine who provided me with the gorgeous asian praying mantis featured in this video. Be sure to check out his channel in the link
in the description box. Also, I’m currently in an area of very slow
internet so AC Inner Colony check here for the hidden video, but if the icard doesn’t
pop up by the time you watch this video, please check back in a few days as it will surely
be up soon! And now it’s time for the AC Question of the
Week! Last week, we asked: List one of the common names
of the snake featured in this video? Congratulations to Kian Gecko who correctly
answered: Common Blind Snake Congratulations Kian Gecko you just won a
free ant t-shirt from our shop! In this week’s AC Question of the Week, we
ask: List one reason why the
praying mantis was an ideal predator to control the
Golden Empire’s population. Leave your answer in the comments section
and you could win a free ebook handbook from our shop! Hope you can subscribe to the channel as we
upload every Saturday at 8AM EST. Please remember to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE, & SUBSCRIBE
if you enjoyed this video to help us keep making more. It’s ant love forever!

Reader Comments

  1. Praying Mantises are so damn cool. I often see them in my yard and I've seen them catch bumble bees and spiders before

  2. I love praying mantises. I had a pod hatch in a bed room one time. And let them out in the garden. They are truly amazing! So happy you did this one and hope you do more of the Mantis. Thank You!

  3. I don't know much about ants so I might be hated but why don't you just attach a new habitat with tubes so they could have more space but still have the space that they were living in so they could still have there relationship with the other living things in that one and so they could adapt to the new space and keep expanding

  4. It was crazy that I live in Georgia and I woke up with one just like her yesterday morning and I don't even know where she came from.

  5. This is seriously the most interesting channel on youtube. Such excellent production as well as content. You make science fun as hell

  6. I have an ant problem in the basement where I sleep, so I brought in a mantis, hoping that it would eat them. It's just been sitting still and staring at me Haha I hope it eats the ants.

  7. That preying mantis is so awesome it's amazing to actually see how it feeds and catches its prey…I cant believe how amazing the quality of videos you make and the shots you get,it must take so much time for you to actually get the shot

  8. When it comes to wasting time this guy is a master. Title is Ants vs Mantis, most of the video has nothing to do with that.

  9. This is late but if population is really a issue just (this sounds really bad) just starve them all the food will eventually go to the queen

    But that will cause a slow painful death

  10. i heard that mantises would sometimes kill and eat part of there prey and then give the rest of the prey to the ants、talking about animal friendship?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *