How Do Praying Mantis Mate?

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  • Praying mantises are best known for the female mantis's habit of devouring her mate after mating. The praying mantis is also known for its unusual posture---when upright, it looks as if it is praying. The mantis body has three areas: the head, abdomen and thorax. The praying mantis is the only insect that can move its head from side to side. Females have a heavier abdomen than males.

The Facts

  • Because of the practice of the females eating the males after mating, many studies have been done on the mantis and its reproduction habits. The praying mantis usually breeds during the late summer season in moderate climates. The female releases a pheromone to attract males. (The male approaches her; the female rarely ever approaches the male.) Males usually attempt to flee right after mating to escape becoming dinner. Sometimes the female will try to eat her mate even before the mating process is complete. In fact, the female eating the head can cause the male to ejaculate faster. The male can continue copulating and inseminate the female, even headless.

Studies

  • Studies have been shown that females don't always consume the males after mating. In fact, one study showed that out of 30 instances of mating in captivity, there was not one example of cannibalism.

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