Every morning in the wild a gazelle awakens one thing is for sure for the gazelle that day as every other she must run faster than the fastest lion if she cannot she will be killed and eaten every morning a lion awakens for the lion two one thing is certain this day and every day he must run.
Faster than the slowest gazelle whether fate names you a gazelle or a lion is of no consequence it is enough to know that with the rising of the sun you must run and you must run faster than the day before for the rest of your.
Days or you will die we all have to run run the race of life these peaceful treetops hide a thousand dramatic battles the combatants often use camouflage and high speed weapons some have sophisticated detection techniques.
And others can fly like a fighter pilot it's all about getting a meal and avoiding becoming one the second life begins the race of life is on and it's even more intense on a small scale bull ants can organize miniature armies and run their homes like a military barracks.
Monarch butterflies can complete great flights of endurance to find the perfect nursery to raise and feed their young and a tiny spider combines athletic prowess with bravery to take on spiders twice her size every battle could inspire a horror.
Movie in the race of life underfoot from the moment life evolved every species on our planet is either the hunter or the hunted often they are both every ecosystem has thousands of different plants and animals competing for food space or survival from the giants of the.
Land to the tiny creatures at their feet from the huge animals of the ocean to the miniature predators of the forest down below where it's almost too small to see live monsters of the undergrowth and their prey these creatures live all over the world in their countless.
Millions they're found from the edge of the arctic to the depths of the tropics most of them are insects we know about 900 000 but more are being discovered every year these animals under foot are engaged in.
A constant struggle a battle to win their race of life this peaceful scene hides a predator who eats his prey alive he hunts by ambush and lies in weight in almost every forest and grassland thanks to his size and near-perfect ability to look exactly like his.
Surroundings but he is also being hunted by animals just as good at camouflage the praying mantis the mantis is an insect like no other he has the standard six legs but two of them are designed to kill most of these miniature predators live.
In the branches of trees so they've all adapted to look like twigs or leaves the praying manta's head adds to his bizarre appearance he can turn it a full 180 degrees this male is stalking his prey the rocking motion as he walks is part of his disguise it.
Helps him look like a leaf blowing in the wind these primeval animals come from another time they have been stalking the forests for 135 million years this female has spotted a meal she's frozen still while he works out what to do next a sarcophagus fly this is going to be.
Tough flies have the fastest vision in the animal kingdom so they can react at lightning speed the praying mantis will have to be very good to win a race of life against such incredible reactions this fly looks tense he may have noticed something's not right.
The mantis is within striking distance his four legs are compressed like a spring ready to strike he also has acute eyesight got him the mantis can strike in less than a hundredth of a second the spikes on his forelegs grip the fly so there is no escape.
The mantis tucks in straight away this time an earthworm is the target it appears to sense danger no chance the spikes do their job and the mantis gets a big feed despite his impressive predator behavior the mantis can also become prey the trees are home to hundreds of carnivores and the praying mantis.
Is on the menu for birds frogs and reptiles a chameleon her eyes scanned the branches for a meal she's seen a praying mantis the race of life is on between two well-camouflaged masters of ambush but the chameleon has the fastest tongue in the forest.
The mantis has no time to defend himself he's lost it's a big life lesson even the most alien creature can be vulnerable it's no surprise one of our most ancient animals lives in the transition zone where the water meets the land.
She's one of the jewels of the skies but she's not a bird she's a ferocious predator but she's not a reptile she also has to fight to survive against bigger predators some catch her on the wing others may be hiding beneath the water we know her best in her adult form when.
Her colours catch the sunlight but she spends most of her life underwater she can't swim but when she takes to the air she's one of the best high-speed precision flyers on the planet she's delicate and beautiful the dragonfly.
Dragonflies are insects but have long slender bodies and two pairs of fragile wings but this lovely creature is a killer with powerful jaws she finds a good lookout point and waits for her prey dragonflies are incredible aerial acrobats.
They have pivoted wings which allow them to stop and change direction in a split second these little insects have been known to migrate across entire oceans this female is laying her eggs she needs to stick them to something secure under the water over 3 000 different kinds of dragonfly.
Have been discovered so far the male dragonfly grabs the female by her neck he has special claspers on the end of his tail to do this he has moved his sperm into a special sack at the base of his long body ready to transfer to his mate the female will now lay up to 1500 eggs.
And they will all hatch within about a week this lake now contains 1500 mini monsters and their race of life has already begun these water birds are on the lookout for a tasty feed of dragonfly lava but these lava are not vulnerable little.
Babies they are serious predators and their favorite prey is the tadpole dragonfly larvae are known as nymphs they have a terrifying secret weapon his jaw shoots out like a catapult it's armed with hooks and spines to catch the tadpole.
Game over for the young frog and a meaty feast for the young dragonfly dragonflies can spend years of their life as a nymph just like the ugly duckling the transformation is magical dragonflies come in a range of dazzling colors from metallic purple.
To sparkling oranges and greens these hungry insects can eat a fifth of their body weight every day this adult is looking for a meal it could be a caterpillar or a butterfly despite his excellent compound eyes the dragonfly cannot see the fine silk of the spider's web these invisible traps are everywhere.
This dragonfly has lost his race of life to an expert predator and the spider has won this iridescent damselfly has caught the eye of another predator another animal with a high speed tongue the frog wins his race of life dragonflies are tiny predators of the.
Sky but they are also fragile jewels in the miniature race of life deep in these mountains lives a unique creature australia has been isolated from the rest of the world for 80 million years as a result.
The ecosystem is like nothing on earth so one animal has evolved in the extreme it's a giant among its kind with ruthless defenses he belongs to one of the most successful groups of animals in the world millions of these little fighters live underground they are the kings of the undergrowth.
And almost nothing stands in their way they are bull ants the terror of the australian outback bull ants are a large primitive ant they are easily recognized by their immense mandibles and their size these formidable insects are one of the world's longest ants they.
Can grow to four centimeters long and they're well known for their aggressive behavior they also have very good eyesight this beetle has strayed close to a swarm of bull ants they attack together the giant mandibles grip.
Hard on the beetle but it's the other end of the ant that's the big problem bulans have a venomous sting in their tails and they are capable of stinging repeatedly this is a very one-sided race of life the beatle has very little chance of winning.
Ants will take on almost anything even if it's bigger than they are this bee is in the wrong place at the wrong time the ant is on its own but not afraid to take on the challenge he goes in for the kill this race of life is evenly matched both animals need to avoid the fatal.
Sting of the other it's a drawn-out battle but soon one of the contenders will become tired the bee has lost reinforcements arrive to carry the hall back to the nest despite their fierce appearance adult bullets do not eat meat they live on sugars such as nectar from.
Flowering gum trees these big ants do not have many predators danger for the bull ants may well swoop down from the skies insect birds scour the forest canopy for a tasty morsel the bull ants are safest in their nest this entrance leads to meters and meters.
Of subterranean tunnels the team with the beetle have arrived home they are going to feed it to their young keeping the nursery well stocked with food is the main job of these hard-working soldiers bull ants have some of the most complex social behavior in the insect world.
They communicate by touch and smell in order to organize a well-run colony it's by working together that bull ants win their race of life the ultimate marathon runner in the race of life travels so far it takes four generations to get to her destination she will travel nearly 4 000 kilometers not once.
But twice a year she travels with thousands of her kind the truly magnificent monarch butterfly monarchs are easily recognized by their stunning orange wings with black veins and white spots this is the monarch butterfly's winter home a sheltered valley in mexico with plenty.
Of trees and lots of sunshine the butterflies huddle together to keep warm more are arriving as the northern winter sets in soon hundreds and thousands of these little orange gems will be hanging in clusters from these.
Branches it's been a long journey and many of the monarchs are exhausted many insects who do not migrate won't survive the icy cold of the northern winter they have traveled from the usa and canada to find this secret place.
When spring arrives the fruit trees of the north burst into blossom and it's a rich feast of nectar the journey north is dotted with flowery pit stops our butterfly needs the high energy sugars to fuel her marathon flight her generation will not make it all the.
Way back to the northern breeding areas a single butterfly lifespan is not long enough to travel the entire distance she will stop and have a family on route the male chases her and drives her to the ground the mating monarchs will stay joined together for up to an hour.
The female can only lay her eggs on one plant the milkweed these eggs are less than a millimeter long in three to eight days the eggs begin to hatch this next generation will be able to follow the root of the ancestors further north.
This newborn monarch will never meet his mother but he will instinctively know where to go but first he must grow and for that he must eat in fact he will spend almost all of his time eating milkweed leaves competition for food is tough all his.
Brothers and sisters are equally keen to gorge themselves as quickly as possible on some milkweeds there is serious sibling rivalry this is an important race of life only the strongest individuals will reach adulthood when our caterpillar has had his fill he.
Will begin the miracle of the butterfly life cycle he will hang from a branch and wrap himself in a silk cocoon the monarch chrysalis an amazing transformation is taking place inside after two to three weeks our little caterpillar is ready to emerge.
In all his glory a full-grown adult monarch butterfly his wings must fill with fluid and dry out before he can fly but after an hour or two he's ready to take to the skies his wings are covered in thousands of tiny scales.
Now he can make the long monarch butterfly journey this one will continue north and produce several generations through the summer it is a remarkable multi-generational race of life the forests of africa asia and australia hide a cannibal an animal that.
Specializes in eating its own kind she's well camouflaged with excellent eyesight and when the sun goes down she begins her extremely specialized hunt she lives where it's warm and shares her forest home with the exotic animals of the tropics.
The porsche spider porsches are a kind of jumping spider with a unique taste they feed on other spiders 17 different porsche spiders have been discovered so far they are remarkable animals their eyesight is sensitive and sharp this porsche is stalking she's seen a.
Good meal but she has to be wary of the mother a special delicacy for porsche spiders is spiderlings newborn spiders with little ability to protect themselves but the mother spider is somewhere nearby keeping watch.
Over her young the porsche edges forward she waits in hiding to check the coast is clear there's no mother spider in sight porsche spider venom is unusually powerful against other spiders she moves in a strange jerky style so she looks like a piece of dead leaf.
Sometimes the porsche will eat the spider eggs before they've hatched or hide in the nest to grab the young as they emerge the favorite prey of the porsche spiders is a bit more of a challenge they like to eat webbed building spiders up to twice their size to do this they need to be very clever.
And very agile this porsche is planning an attack on an orb spider she may wait as much as three days to work out how she's going to get the upper hand in this race of life she's trying to mimic the behavior of an.
Insect trapped in the web to attract the larger spider then a very different strategy she bites her victim many times injecting venom another porsche is on the prowl her victim won't give up without a fight jumping spiders can leap up to 25 times their size.
Porsche spiders can also behave like traditional spiders by building their own webs with their hawk-like vision they can quickly see if they're in luck this spider has invaded another web she will quickly eat up the offspring of her victim before she is caught out.
For all her horrific behavior the porsche spider is surprisingly small up to 10 millimeters across this tiny jumping spider wins her race of life through a powerful combination of cunning and skill the animal kingdom at our feet is a.
Startling world from the lethal strike of the praying mantis to the aerial genius of the dragonfly from the invisible traps of the spider to the forbidding weapons of the bullet the fight to survive never stops in the race of life underfoot.