Praying Mantis Love is Waaay Weirder Than You Think | Deep Look

This episode of Deep Look is brought to you
by Curiosity Stream. This mantis is at the top of her game. All summer, she’s been bulking up on grasshoppers
and flies. They’re called bordered mantises. Ambush hunters, cloaked by camouflage – some
green and some brown. And check out those forelimbs… they’re
lined with sharp spikes – almost like a couple extra sets of jaws to grab her prey. They’ve served her well. But summer is coming to an end here in California’s
Owens Valley. The one thing left for them to do is start
the next generation. She sends out a chemical signal – an alluring
cocktail of pheromones – into the air. This guy picks up the message. He’s way, way smaller than she is – simply
outclassed when it comes to strength and deadliness. He makes his move, to pass on his genes for Uhhh… That’s one way to go. And he’s not the only male to meet his end
this way. So why would praying mantises do this – eat
their own kind at a rather intimate moment? Seems like they wouldn’t last long as a
species. Well, it takes a ton of energy for females
to produce their eggs – about a hundred of them, developing inside her. She’ll lay them in a foamy cluster like
this called an ootheca. So that male is fueling the survival of his
species, nutritionally-speaking. When they hatch in the spring, there will
be plenty more mantises to replace this one. And these bordered mantises weren’t going
to live much longer anyway. They can’t survive the cold autumn nights. So males might as well take a shot. Aww… this time it worked out. He delivers a packet of sperm to fertilize
her eggs. But each time, it’s a serious gamble. Well, that didn’t go so well. But wait, look… He’s been decapitated, but his body is still
moving Like it’s on autopilot – kind of a zombie
mating machine. It’s being controlled by nerves in the mantis’
abdomen and can still… get the job done. In fact, males who successfully mate and get
eaten in the process may father more eggs than those who get away. So, while it may not really seem that way,
this guy may be the ultimate winner in the primal quest to pass on his genes. This episode is brought to you by Curiosity
Stream, a subscription streaming service that offers documentaries and nonfiction titles
from some of the world’s best filmmakers – including exclusive originals. Want to learn more about praying mantises
and other insects? Curiosity Stream’s video series Insect Dissection
investigates how insects evolved to dominate our world. To get unlimited access and your first two
months free, sign up at and use the promo code: deeplook during the
signup process. Hi it’s Lauren again. So those mantises – pretty weird, right? But that’s what we love about the natural
world – it’s always surprising. Subscribe to Deep Look so you don’t miss
the other jaw-dropping things we’re finding right now. Thanks for watching Deep Look and see you
next time!

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