September 20, 2019

Sexual Cannibalism in Praying Mantises

Insect world continues to fascinate us with the diversity in all aspects. Insects have amazing adaptability, strength in comparison to body size, ability for metamorphosis, and so on.

Praying mantis are one cool and photogenic group due to their eyes, face posture and forearms. I love watching them and can spend a lot of time just looking at their movement or feeding style.

While walking casually between two university buildings, I noticed some insect in the grass. From a distance I thought it was a grasshopper or Katydid. But I decided to take a closer look. It was a Praying Mantis.

But it looked a little different. I then realized it was not single insect but was a mating pair. But then the male looked weird. It took some time for me to realize that the head of the male was missing.

I immediately remembered reading about sexual cannibalism in mantises. But I was thinking it happens after the mating is complete. The females many times catches and eats the males. There are different theories about this. In most predatory species this is observed. It is a very high percentage in captivity but is known to occur in the wild in about a fourth of times.

I never thought that I would get to see such an event in wild myself. Most interesting thing was the mating was still in progress even though the male was headless. And half an hour that I observed the male was still in the same position and the female was not attempting to attach further.

It is a Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) in Mantids Family (Mantidae)

Update: Thanks @mantodea for id confirmation.

Posted on September 20, 2019 02:40 by vijaybarve vijaybarve | 1 observations | 16 comments | Leave a comment

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