Is is true Praying Mantis eat each other after sex?

Friday, April 29, 2011
praying mantis green close up
The Praying Mantis

The Praying Mantis has to be the coolest bug or critter on the planet I reckon. For two reasons. They are usually green and green is the coolest colour and two, the female apparently eats the male after copulations. We'll look into that in a minute but first I thought about why I'm doing a post on the Mighty Mantis!

I had a wonderful Easter lunch at a friend's where their 1 year old had a pet Praying Mantis - and whilst he was playing in the sun porch he found another. His dad put in in the jar with the original and, the excitement over we went and had lunch. 

Post chicken and potatoes we had a look at how the green-eyed monsters were playing. NOT TOO FRIENDLY! The original mantis was half way through eating his new jar mate, and in doing so proving to me that Pray Mantis do eat each other!

A colloquial name for the order is "praying mantises", because of the typical "prayer-like" stance, although the term is often misspelled as "preying mantis" since mantises are predatory

praying mantis eatin caterpillar

Although the praying mantis is known for its cannibalistic mating process in actuality it only occurs 5-31% of the time. Which kind makes me think those are some crap odds!

Apparently in laboratory set conditions of bright lights and confinement, the female mantis is more likely to eat the male as means of survival. A scientist once reported:

"In nature, mating usually takes place under cover, so rather than leaning over the tank studying their every move, we left them alone and videotaped what happened. We were amazed at what we saw. Out of thirty matings, we didn't record one instance of cannibalism, and instead we saw an elaborate courtship display, with both sexes performing a ritual dance, stroking each other with their antennae before finally mating.

OK so that's a little better then.

There is one species, however, the Mantis religiosa, in which it is necessary that the head be removed for the mating to take effect properly. Sexual cannibalism occurs most often if the female is hungry. But eating the head does causes the body to ejaculate faster....

praying mantis eating fly

The mantis has an huge appetite and some have been known to eat up to sixteen crickets a day, but this is not limited to just insects. They are well known to be carnivorous and cannibalistic, and only eat live prey in both nymph and adult stages. Praying Mantis are well known to love eating flies but hey have also been documented  as eating 21 species of insects, soft-shelled turtles, mice, frogs, birds, and delicious newts. 

mantis and monarch butterfly

Although the European mantis was introduced to the mighty United States to eat the horrible insects that destroy precious farm crops, other species are known informally as "soothsayers," "devil's horses," "mule killers," and "camel crickets" since their saliva was mistakenly thought to poison farm livestock. That was probably the Armish. I'm suggesting it was them because according to the stereotype I've gleaned from film and tv, they don't apparently have the internet so I'm in the clear. 

Bee caught and eaten by a praying mantis

Not many people know that the the mantis can lash out at remarkable speed as it catches prey.  Prey items are caught and held securely with grasping, spiked forelegs. Check out this butterfly photo below:

Yellow butterflying being eaten by a hungry praying mantis
praying mantis eating
Wasp being eaten by the Mantis
praying mantis eating fly
A fly being eaten
fly eaten by praying mantis
Fried Fly Wing for dinner
grass hopper eaten by a praying mantis
Said the grasshopper to the mantis?
Here's the classic picture of a praying mantis some how managing to hold onto a fucking bird. Maybe it was the most hungry mantis in the history of the entire species? I can respect that, it reminds me of this snake pulling up a kangaroo up a cliff. 

bird eaten by a praying mantis
Bird attacked by a Praying Mantis

Shark eats Marlin

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Here's a picture of a  mako shark attacking a marlin that had been caught and was to be tagged for release. It's from an awesome perspective of the photographer being in with the water with the big fish.

NZH had the story:

Al McGlashan was in the water off Port Stephens, 200km north of Sydney in New South Wales, to film the tag and release of the marlin when the mako shark swooped, tearing at the body of the hooked gamefish metres away from him. He is convinced the shark moved in only after McGlashan, who had been taking close-ups of the action, moved back to take panoramic pictures of the marlin's release.

"That shark was there watching me the whole five minutes I was in the water, and what is even more impressive is that it waited till I moved out of the way before attacking the marlin"

Before jumping into the water to film the tag and release, when the marlin had been hauled in close to the catch boat, McGlashan and his crew had marked a second fish on the fish finder, which they thought to be another marlin.

However, he now believes it was the shark stalking the marlin. "In all my life I have seen some amazing things - including a few shark attacks - but never have I been witness to such a spectacle from outside the safety of the boat.

"As sad as it was to see the marlin eaten, seeing nature in its most raw form and capturing it all on film, both stills and HD footage, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience."


People love sharks, this page about sharks being fearless hunters is one of Animals Eating Animals most popular pages. You might also want to check out this one of Great White Sharks eating seals.

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