Insect Sex: Watch Headless Praying Mantis Continue To Mate After Being Decapitated by Female

A female praying mantis eating a male's genitals. Oliver Koemmerling/CC

Nothing stands between a male praying mantis and his need to get laid, not even losing his head to a hungry mate. Now, a particularly gruesome video shows that, even without a head, a male mantis was still able to mount his female and complete the mating process.

Nearly everyone knows at least two facts about praying mantises; that the female eats the males after having sex, and that it's illegal to kill one of these alien-looking creatures. While the latter fact is actually completely false (shocking, I know), it is true that hungry females will consume her mate in effect to have enough energy to incubate the couple's fertilized eggs.

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The act of consuming a mate during or after sex is not as malicious as it may sound. A 2016 paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows that male mantises who are eaten after sex are actually more likely to have their sex result in viable young. This is because females who eat their partners produce far more eggs than those who aren't lucky enough to have a post-coital snack.

Sometimes, the female isn't patient enough to wait until after sex to eat her mate and may crave a little snack in the form of her partner's head even before getting down to the act. However, as seen in a new video released by Deep Look, even without this seemingly vital body part, the male is still able to mate.

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In the video we can see the female mantis eat her partner's head during the courtship dance, but this doesn't stop him from spreading his seed. Sans head, the male continues to mount his murderess and deliver her the gift of life. Gizmodo reported that the male is still controlled by nerves in his abdomen which guide him in the mating process.

Aside from their strange and at times gruesome mating habits, the praying mantis is truly a fascinating insect. Named after their stature, which makes them look as though they always have their front appendages clasped together in prayer, the mantis are true predators. When they aren't feasting on their lovers they're known to eat other insects and even some small animals. According to National Geographic, the bug can also turn its head a complete 180 degrees and can adapt its body color to better blend into their environment.

With an appetite for blood and enviable hunting adaptations, the mantis is the king predator of the garden, so let's just be thankful that humans aren't on the menu for these little guys.