Sex is rarely a bed of roses, even at the best of times. But for praying mantises, it’s a deadly game.
Female praying mantises have a habit of killing and eating their partners during sex, which sucks for the male. But new evidence has emerged that some male praying mantises also fight females to mate. The evidence also suggests that winning a fight is crucial for successful mating.
Male Praying Mantises usually approach the females with caution whenever they want to mate. However, two researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, have discovered something new. They go by the names Nathan Burke and Gregory Holwell. And they both suggest that some male praying mantis actually attack females in other to mate.
In their research, 52 pairs of springbok Mantis were studied for 24 hours in the lab. They kept a close eye on these insects and discovered that some pairs got into a fight within the first 12 hours.
“These struggles were always initiated by the males and involved bouts of violent wrestling where each sex tried to be the first to pin down the other,”says Burke.
They both believe that the males were trying to use force to encourage the females to mate. After 24 hours, both researchers documented if there was a successful mating among the pairs or if the male died.
Well, it became apparent that the outcome depended on who won the fights that were recorded within the first 12 hours. If the females won the fight, they always eat the male. But if the males won, mating was the most common outcome.
“It seems that many females would rather eat a male than mate with one,”says Burke.
Also, the two researchers stated that mating is a deadly game for Praying Mantis. In four of the fights observed in the first 12 hours, the males were able to inflict severe wounds on the females.
“Sex is rarely a bed of roses, even at the best of times. But for praying mantises, it’s a deadly game”says Burke.
Praying Mantis really do have a strange relationship with each other. William Brown at the State University of New York at Fredonia had this to say;
“I’m surprised we don’t see this more often, given that males are well equipped with raptorial forelimbs designed to catch and hold insect prey.”
Detailed research: Biology Letters, DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2020.0811.