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9 of the most bizarre animal mating habits

June 18, 2013, 12:39 p.m.
Praying mantises mating

Photo: TarynMarie/Flickr

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Praying mantises

For a male praying mantis, a receptive female is both a dream come true and his worst nightmare all wrapped up into one. Mantises display one of the better researched forms of sexual cannibalism.

In other words, if lovemaking makes a female mantis hungry, she won't wait until after sex to begin snacking — and she'll start with her lover's head. A male's body will often continue copulating with the female even after she has devoured his noggin. (Hey, if you've gotta go, might as well go out with a bang.)

The good news for male mantises is that sexual cannibalism only happens about 16 percent of the time in the wild. So each time a male approaches a female, he has to determine whether it's worth the risk.