NOV 21, 2017 6:12 PM PST

Why Female Praying Mantises Devour the Male During Copulation

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


The praying mantis is well-known for two things: 1) the posture that makes it look like the insect is praying, and 2) the fact that the female often devours the male throughout the mating process.

One of the most frequently-asked questions about praying mantises is why the females consume the males after mating, and it turns out that there's a valid reason for it.

The copulation process between two praying mantises can last for extended periods of time, so the male needs to keep the female entertained throughout the process. One of the ways he can do that is to let the female eat his head, after which the now headless body continues pumping sperm into the female's reproductive tract.

The male's body will keep going until the female devours every bit of it. By this time, however, a substantial amount of sperm has already been deposited into the female's reproductive system.

While the male might not be around to see it anymore, the vast amount of sperm he deposited into the female while he was getting eaten has a high chance of yielding offspring. That said, his act of transforming into an entrée increased his odds of successful reproduction and completed the circle of life.

As it would seem, this bizarre mating tactic works great for several praying mantis species.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
NOV 05, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
No, Gravity Doesn't Affect How Bubbles Collapse
NOV 05, 2020
No, Gravity Doesn't Affect How Bubbles Collapse
The ubiquitous presence of bubbles makes them a common phenomenon, but interestingly our understanding of this globular ...
JAN 08, 2021
Neuroscience
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
JAN 08, 2021
Brain Scans Show Why Comedy-News Shows are More Memorable
Comedy-news shows such as those by Trevor Noah, John Oliver, and Samantha Bee on the rise and are especially popular amo ...
FEB 09, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Scientists Spotlight Dangers of Ocean Noise Pollution
FEB 09, 2021
Scientists Spotlight Dangers of Ocean Noise Pollution
Many ocean species use sound to communicate and survive. Sound is a crucial communication method since vision is limited ...
MAR 03, 2021
Plants & Animals
Can Arctic Bearded Seals Compete with Human Noise?
MAR 03, 2021
Can Arctic Bearded Seals Compete with Human Noise?
Vocal communication is a primary key to survival for many species, including the Arctic Ocean's bearded seals. Accor ...
MAY 30, 2021
Space & Astronomy
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
MAY 30, 2021
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
A detailed cross-section of another galaxy, known as YGC 10738, has cast previous ideas of how the Milky Way was formed ...
JUN 04, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Scientists Identify 90 Drugs that Could be Repurposed to Fight COVID-19
JUN 04, 2021
Scientists Identify 90 Drugs that Could be Repurposed to Fight COVID-19
Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute in California have identified 90 drugs that could be repurposed for trea ...
Loading Comments...