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

Apr 25, 2012
Mantis males engage in riskier mating behavior if deprived of female access. Credit: Phil Hastings

Male praying mantises are more likely to engage in risky mating behavior if they have not had recent access to females, as reported Apr. 25 in the open access journal PLoS ONE. Female praying mantises are known for their cannibalistic behavior toward their mates, and males take a large risk when they attempt to reproduce.

In the current work, led by William Brown of State University of New York at Fredonia, the researchers found that males modulate this risk by altering their approach rate and courtship behavior depending on how recently they have had access to females.

Specifically, males that had not had recent access to mates approached females more rapidly and to closer proximity than did males who had daily female encounters. They also found that this higher-risk behavior resulted in higher rates of sexual cannibalism when paired with hungry females.

"Male cannibalism by females in praying mantids represents an extreme example of in which males risk the complete loss of future reproduction. Our results suggest that males have evolved to alter their acceptable risk of attack depending on mate availability", says Dr. Brown.

Explore further: Nest-building in finches is a learning process developed through experience

More information: Brown WD, Muntz GA, Ladowski AJ (2012) Low Mate Encounter Rate Increases Male Risk Taking in a Sexually Cannibalistic Praying Mantis. PLoS ONE 7(4): e35377. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035377

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

In spiders, size matters: Small males are more often meals

Sep 10, 2008

Female spiders are voracious predators and consume a wide range of prey, which sometimes includes their mates. A number of hypotheses have been proposed for why females eat males before or after mating. Researchers ...

Discerning males remain faithful

Apr 24, 2012

Discerning males remain faithful ... if you are a spider. Sex for male orb web spiders (Argiope bruennichi) is a two shot affair since the act of mating destroys their genitalia. If they survive being eaten ...

The best both of worlds -- how to have sex and survive

Sep 20, 2007

Researchers have discovered that even the gruesome and brutal lifestyle of the Evarcha culicivora, a blood gorging jumping spider indigenous to East Africa, can’t help but be tempted by that ‘big is beautiful’ mantra ...

European dung-fly females all aflutter for large males

Apr 13, 2012

European and North American black scavenger flies – also called dung flies as their larvae develop in the feces of vertebrates and thus break them down – belong to the same species. Nevertheless, ...

'Paranoia' about rivals alters insect mating behavior

Aug 08, 2011

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found that male fruitflies experience a type of 'paranoia' in the presence of another male, which doubles the length of time they mate with a female, despite the female of the ...

Recommended for you

Genome yields insights into golden eagle vision, smell

1 hour ago

Purdue and West Virginia University researchers are the first to sequence the genome of the golden eagle, providing a bird's-eye view of eagle features that could lead to more effective conservation strategies.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Dug
not rated yet Apr 25, 2012
Is it me or is the title completely illogical. If males are deprived of females, there is no mating - risky or not.
Terriva
1 / 5 (1) Apr 26, 2012
The sexually deprived men are more often engaged in sex with prostitutes, where they're risking the sexually transferable diseases. Does it have a sense for you?

More news stories

Genetic code of the deadly tsetse fly unraveled

Mining the genome of the disease-transmitting tsetse fly, researchers have revealed the genetic adaptions that allow it to have such unique biology and transmit disease to both humans and animals.

Ocean microbes display remarkable genetic diversity

The smallest, most abundant marine microbe, Prochlorococcus, is a photosynthetic bacteria species essential to the marine ecosystem. An estimated billion billion billion of the single-cell creatures live i ...

Cell resiliency surprises scientists

New research shows that cells are more resilient in taking care of their DNA than scientists originally thought. Even when missing critical components, cells can adapt and make copies of their DNA in an alternative ...