Bug Blog

How Cannibalism Can Benefit Even Male Praying Mantises

There does not seem to be much benefit associated with being a male praying mantis. Aside from being eaten by the female you just copulated with, they also suffer the disadvantage of being significantly smaller than the female, which means that males cannot procure food as easily as female mantises can. But could there be a benefit to being cannibalized by the mother of your offspring? According to science the answer is “yes.”

Researchers now believe that those male mantises that are consumed by the females are more likely to pass on much more of their genetic material, and naturally produce more offspring than those males who are able to avoid being eaten by females after copulation. So while it may not be the best fate to be cannibalized, at least those mantises that are eaten are able to produce more offspring for the next or following generations.

Do you think that the reproductive advantages afforded to cannibalized male mantises are unique solely to praying mantises? Or are there other types of cannibalistic animals that demonstrate this same reproductive phenomenon?