General, Research, Technology

Why do female praying mantises bite off the heads of males?

In Europe, Egypt and many otherscountries you can meet one of the most unusual insects - praying mantises. They are known to many people due to the fact that after mating, females bite off their partners' heads. You have probably read about this many times in the collections of "interesting facts", however, this statement is only half true... During numerous observations of praying mantisesthe researchers found that females bite off the heads of males only in 50% of cases. The males, ready for mating, seem to be playing "Russian roulette", as a result of which they either die or survive. Mantis females eat representatives of the opposite sex and even their children due to the fact that sex hormones provoke very aggressive behavior in them. But recently, scientists have found that some males can resist ruthless females - this is a very large and important scientific discovery.

Mantis females do not always bite off the head of males, because they know how to fight back

Who are praying mantises?

Praying mantises are predatory insects, body lengthwhich can reach 7.5 centimeters. Females are always larger than males. The body color of praying mantises is highly variable and depends on the environment. To camouflage themselves against the backdrop of the wild, insects can turn green or turn brown. The hind limbs of the praying mantis are designed for running, while the forelimbs are spiked and used for grabbing food. These insects have wings, but only males can fly well. And all because females are much larger than them and often simply cannot raise their bodies.

The order of praying mantis has 2853 species of animals

Male praying mantises feed on small insects, butfemales can attack larger victims. They always attack from an ambush, in which their ability to disguise themselves as the environment helps them a lot. At first they hardly move, but when potential prey is within reach, they immediately grab them with their forelimbs. In the hunting position, they look like a praying person, that's why they were called "praying mantises".

Mating mantis looks like this

But males die only 50% of the time, so inthey always have a chance to survive. Scientists from New Zealand recently became convinced of this. They caught 52 pairs of Miomantis caffra praying mantises, placed them in 700 milliliter plastic cups, and observed their behavior for 24 hours. It is important to note that before the experiment, the females were well fed with flies and accustomed to the conditions inside the glasses. The males were released to them last.

Praying mantis species Miomantis caffra

It turned out that male praying mantises of the species Miomantiscaffra are more likely to survive after mating than other species. Researchers have found that when males and females meet, they begin a fierce battle. If the male can win, he has a 75% chance of surviving after mating. And all because during the battle they manage to wound the females and deprive them of some of their strength. It sounds cruel, but apparently, mantises themselves are very cruel creatures. Females tear off the heads of the males, and they try to injure them as much as possible. They have their own atmosphere.

If you are interested in the news of science and technology, subscribe to our channel in Yandex. Dzen. There you will find materials that have not been published on the site!

It should be noted that this is not the first article aboutpraying mantises on our website. Earlier, my colleague Lyubov Sokovikova spoke about these amazing creatures. She shared some interesting facts about praying mantises and explained why these insects are even more scary than we think. Although these creatures are not dangerous to people, you will not want to meet them. However, there are more than 2850 species of them in the world, some of which are very beautiful - personally, I would not mind seeing them live. My colleague also shared photos of these handsome men, so I highly recommend reading her article. Here's a link.