Mating cannibalism


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Well-known member
Sep 27, 2016
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So everyone that has spent time on this forum, or raised mantises long enough, knows how the "Female always eats the head of the male during or after mating" thing is not nearly as prevalent as the myth implies.  It happens, but in many species, it's REALLY rare.  In fact, in the years I've spent with these things, I have never witnessed a female actually eating the head of a male while mating.  Until this morning.  Re-breeding a H. venosa female (2nd time)  She's pretty well fed.  I've only seen them eat the male if he's not mating with her but in the same enclosure for too long (an undesired consequence that probably happens to everyone on can't watch them 24 hours a day!).

Anyhow, this morning...I put them in the enclosure together.  He jumps on the female.  Starts to mate.  She acts disinterested.  I feed her a cricket.  I leave for an hour.  I come back to this.  It's kind of sad, I know.  On the upside, she's getting bred again. He's mated a couple times.  She's getting some good nutrition for egg production.  And I still have a couple males.  So I'm not too bummed.  Just thought it was interested to finally see this happen.  Wasn't expecting it I guess. Looks like he put up a fight too (with his raptorial still hanging onto hers).


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Im sorry that you lost your male! I guess it does happen sometimes!

- MantisGirl13

Sorry, you lost your male, but he will live on in his offspring. It amazes me that a male can still mate with no head.

Yep.  Seen all sorts of photos of a similar scenario. Just never witnessed it in real life.

Checked again about 10 minutes ago.  He must have finished mating...and then she finished him.  All that was left is a very fat, bred, female...and a small pile of legs and wings. I hope to get a healthy ooth out of this in the next few weeks!  ?  <Insert "Circle of Life" song/music here>

I've seen it quite a few times but almost always in captivity. I've only come across it a couple times in the wild. 

I have been breeding mantids for a little over a year now, and I had my first instance of mate(?) cannibalism only recently. The reason I put the question mark after the word "mate" in the last sentence is because I never actually saw the male mate with the female. I just saw a male in the female's enclosure when I went to sleep, and then I woke up to find a little pile of mantis bits on the floor of the female's enclosure and a very fat female hanging from the lid of the enclosure. That female has now laid an ootheca, so I am hoping it is fertile. Unfortunately, that was my only male this year, so the other female I raised never mated. 

Yeah they are pretty ruthless to each other. Sparkle (my Chinese female) bit my male Galaxy's arm and left a pretty mean wound. Luckily I got them seperated....!

BTW...the species that were mating (with the headless male) which I attached in the picture are H. venosa (golden phase).  The female mated successfully with a couple different males 1-2 weeks before giving me an ooth a couple days ago.  So I'm pretty sure the ooths will produce nymphs. 

that's unfortunate he was killed. Just mated my sphodromantis aurea and they were at it for atleast 12 hours and he managed to live. Even left him in her enclosure over night and when I was at work

Wow thanks for sharing @bugboymark!  I myself have never seen the killing in person and honestly I really try to fatten up my females before I attempt to breed just so that they aren't interested.  I do know that some species are just more aggressive than others and I feel as if the Hierodula species as a hole are just an aggressive species when it comes to eating.  I have a female majuscula now and I have a sub adult male and I'm already nervous for him.  You bet I will be fattening her up real good before mating! lol. 

Also, she is a very beautiful female!!  You should put up some pictures of just her!  Wow! :)

I have a group of 4 galinthias amoena living communally. They reached adulthood more or less same time, just my luck but I ended up with 3 males and one female. She's been mated a few times now, caught them more than once in the last two weeks. They don't normally bother each other but the smallest male seems to have "disappeared". Despite there being food insects always available in there. 

Now just hoping she actually starts producing some ooths.