A praying mantis: she bites into her mate’s head like an apple and cleans her face ‘like a cat’ | Helen Sullivan

A praying mantis: she bites into her mate’s head like an apple and cleans her face ‘like a cat’ | Helen Sullivan

The mate is not discouraged. Instead, a ‘separate mini-brain in his tail kicks in and actually speeds up his performance’

When the female praying mantis is mating, she does not bite the head off the male with one swift snip: she chomps into it, like an apple. It appears to have the texture of a honeydew melon.

Her mate has tried to avoid this destiny. The male European mantis “uses his feelers to calm her down”, the BBC narrates. But it is already too late. Although chemicals in his brain have told him to stay away from her, the chemicals in his abdomen were more potent. Once he is decapitated, a “separate mini-brain in his tail kicks in and actually speeds up his performance,” says the BBC. The female, meanwhile, cleans her face “like a cat”, writes Annie Dillard in Pilgrim and Tinker Creek. After watching the video I wished I had been decapitated.

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