Sexual Cannibalism in the Cosmos

Sexual Cannibalism in the Cosmos

Sexual cannibalism in the cosmos, praying mantis style. You know all the stories you have heard about the female praying mantis biting off the head of her mate? I guess I never gave it too much thought. I had no reason to disbelieve it, but I never expected to witness any part of that ritual. However, I have seen some amazing things in my tiny Albuquerque yard, so I should stop being surprised at what I do see. I frequently go out in the morning to photograph flowers before the sun strikes them. Not too long ago, I found this sexual cannibalism in the cosmos:

sexual cannibalism

Female Praying Mantis with Decapitated Mate

sexual cannibalism

Female Praying Mantis with Decapitated Mate

sexual cannibalism

Female Praying Mantis with Decapitated Mate

sexual cannibalism

She Sees Me

sexual cannibalism

“I’m Taking My Body and Getting Away from that Woman! (Note the falling wing of the male)”

sexual cannibalism

“That’s Better!”

sexual cannibalism

“I’m Going to Eat Now! Go Away, Human Woman! He’s All Mine!”

I went out that morning to photograph flowers. But I learned long ago, that, if you keep your eyes open, you might get the opportunity to see some things most people don’t see often. Sexual cannibaism was about the last thing I was expecting to see or have the opportunity to photograph that morning! But, there it was. She was a voracious praying mantis!

National Geographic has posted a video about the praying mantis, which you might enjoy. It gives a scientific explanation for this behavior, also noting that “a well-fed female mantis is a well-behaved female mantis.”

4 thoughts on “Sexual Cannibalism in the Cosmos

    • Hi,Mel! Thank you! I’ll see a praying mantis every now and then in the yard, and I feel lucky if I get one or two “face shots” before they hide. I obviously made this female uncomfortable, but I think she was more concerned to hang onto her “prize” than actually get away from me. At that point, I think that whole built-in reproductive drive to prepare to lay eggs had kicked in and I was just a mere annoyance.
      Great to see you this morning. Thanks for stopping by!

  1. Wow that’s a once in a lifetime moment. She must have been famished! Who would have known you would be an eye witness!

    • Hi, Juanita. I have to admit, I certainly was not expecting it that morning! I’ve always loved this quote from Dorothea Lange: “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” I’ve been learning that the more I photograph anything, the more I see of everything. I wonder if ten years ago I would have even “seen” this right in front of me, and not recognized what a gift I was being given.
      She certainly acted famished! Long night 😉 ))))))))))))))
      Thank you for dropping by and leaving a comment. So nice to see you this morning!

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