Male mantids try to avoid sex cannibalism

July 27, 2006

Female praying mantids are notorious for sexual cannibalism and U.S. researchers have determined male mantids try to avoid that fate.

State University of New York-Fredonia biologists Jonathan Lelito and William Brown studied male risk-taking behavior in a praying mantis by altering the risk of cannibalism and observing changes in behavior. They found males can assess the risk of cannibalism and become more cautious in the presence of hungry females.

"We know hungry females are more likely to cannibalize and a head-on orientation makes it easier for her to attack the male with her predatory front legs," said Brown.

The researchers therefore varied female hunger and physical orientation to assess how male mantids behaved. They found males responded to greater risk by slowing their approach, increasing courtship behavior and mounting from a greater -- and possibly safer -- distance.

"This shows that male mantids actively assess variation in risk and change their behavior to reduce the chance of being cannibalized," said Brown. "Males are clearly not complicit, and the act of sexual cannibalism in praying mantids is an example of extreme conflict between the sexes."

The research appears in the American Naturalist.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Mantis males engage in riskier mating behavior if deprived of female access

Related Stories

Recommended for you

'Material universe' yields surprising new particle

November 25, 2015

An international team of researchers has predicted the existence of a new type of particle called the type-II Weyl fermion in metallic materials. When subjected to a magnetic field, the materials containing the particle act ...

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...

New gene map reveals cancer's Achilles heel

November 25, 2015

Scientists have mapped out the genes that keep our cells alive, creating a long-awaited foothold for understanding how our genome works and which genes are crucial in disease like cancer.

A blue, neptune-size exoplanet around a red dwarf star

November 25, 2015

A team of astronomers have used the LCOGT network to detect light scattered by tiny particles (called Rayleigh scattering), through the atmosphere of a Neptune-size transiting exoplanet. This suggests a blue sky on this world ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.