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They met. They knew. They decided to make love. (UPDATE!!! See #47 She's a tramp!)

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
..she bit his arms off and ate his eye........ :

Ah, the love life of a praying mantis

Ds caught a beautiful green praying mantis last week. We have a special mesh insect habitat container that we keep bugs in for a period of time before releasing them. Then, he caught a smaller, brown pm "to keep the first one company"(!). We learned ("we") that the females are green (and, larger), males are brown.

Ds captured moths and other insects and kept them fed quite nicely. Last evening, we watched as their behaviour towards each other changed. They did a sort of "dance" walking this way and that. Finally, she decided that he was a good choice as the father of her future offspring and they began mating.

When they had actually "connected", the female backed-up and they were bent right at the connection of their abdomens, like this: /\. She then neatly bit-off his two arms (the ones that look nasty!) and ate one of his eyes. Poor thing, he had no chance.

They coupled for 5 hours!! Yes, we timed it. Talk about our having an exciting lifestyle...............

During this time, she ate some moths (I guess food and sex go together in all species!) and proceeded to, literally, drain the male with her pumping action. He went from being rounded to as flat as possible. From () to __

Ds surmised that "Male mantises are nothing but sperm in a shell and don't have much fun with the ladies." (his words!).

Towards the end, she walked around the habitat for about 20 minutes, bending this way and that, dragging him over leaves and rocks, trying to release him as he held on, weakly, to whatever he could with his four legs.

Finally, he dropped-off and to the bottom, his legs still moving slightly (whether he was alive or not, I don't know (I sincerely hope not)). Probably automatic nervous system reflexes.

(((Try not to think about all this when you snuggle-up to your husband tonight and want to make love! Though that very final bit does sound familiar....)))

She did NOT eat the male. Not even a nibble (he is still where he fell, untouched and flat). I guess she prefers the other (juicier) insects that ds keeps adding to her habitat!

So, now we await her initiation of egg-laying. It will be cool, because we know just where the egg case will be all Winter (in the habitat) and what to watch for next Spring (hundreds of miniature mantises on silken threads)!

I honestly don't know if we would have done all this had ds been in regular school. I know I wouldn't spend some time each day catching insects to feed her! Ds went through several books of insects to learn about mantises and looked them up on the Internet and found out all sorts of really fascinating information about them.

He also has a pill bug habitat (which I will allow into our house all Winter) and a black widow spider (which he keeps away from me as I am known as the "Spider Killer" in these here parts! ) We are still negotiating as to where SHE will spend the cold months (I'm saying the garage, ds says the house. I am pretty sure I will win this one!)

So, how's the bug life in your area?!
post #2 of 49
Wow! I'm equal parts fascinated and shocked. Very, very interesting stuff going on at your house right now! How old is your son?
post #3 of 49
That was completely fascinating to read! And the intro really cracked me up. Last year, on a visit to the science center, one of the child volunteers had a large female praying mantis in a container. We stopped to admire it and then he pointed to some lifeless brown thing in the corner and said, "That was her mate." Oh my!

I hope you update when her eggs hatch. I would love to hear about that!
post #4 of 49
yeah - they don't get to see THAT in school, that's for sure!!! What an awesome lesson and great narrative. I hope you save it.
post #5 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamsmom98 View Post
They coupled for 5 hours!! Yes, we timed it.
Jeeze, don't they warn you about that on the Viagra commerials? No wonder he died



Quote:
Originally Posted by grahamsmom98 View Post
So, how's the bug life in your area?!
We are still waiting for our cacoon to open (hatch?). I'm beginning to think it's a dud
post #6 of 49
That was TOTALLY awesome!!! I learned something new!!!!! Now I want my own praying mantis!!!
post #7 of 49
Thread Starter 
Ds is 8 (going on 45!).

I asked ds what happens to the female and he explained that she will die after laying her eggs.

I mentioned that that was a little sad (trying to sound compassionate). She won't see her babies and that they'll not know her.

His reply:

"Oh, Mom, c'mon. They're insects. They don't have sentimental thoughts. Besides, there will be hundreds of young. Do you really think that she'd be homeschooling and talking to each one of them?? No way! When they hatch they say, "See ya, I'm outta here!" and they go tear into the first smaller bug they find. Life goes on."

With that, he returned to reading his latest "Hardy Boys" mystery and munching on a piece of a cake he baked yesterday.

Sigh.......................
post #8 of 49
That sounds totally fascinating. I sorta wished you had taped it and put it on YouTube.
post #9 of 49
your ds is so cool!
post #10 of 49
Did you put on some Barry White for them?
post #11 of 49
Quote:
Did you put on some Barry White for them?


What a fascinating story and what a cool son you have!
post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3momkmb View Post
We are still waiting for our cacoon to open (hatch?). I'm beginning to think it's a dud
Our tobacco hornworm never hatched after waiting a few months. It turns out they'll dry out if you don't keep some humidity in their enclosure.
post #13 of 49
I really loved this brief glimpse into the lives of praying mantises! I have a budding entomologist as well, and he keeps me informed about all of the various insects and creepy crawlies living near our home. I draw the line at black widows though!
post #14 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by KoalaMama View Post
Wow! I'm equal parts fascinated and shocked. Very, very interesting stuff going on at your house right now! How old is your son?
This encompasses all three of my first reactions : Wow. Just wow. How totally cool. And wow.

The only exciting thing happening here is that we discovered a hidden spider in the dining room, because we found a little cache of ant carcasses (at least SOMETHING is killing them!) in the corner of the dining room carpet under a chair. No spider to be seen, but some form of web is also visible. That's pretty much it Your house is way cooler! (And your intro cracked me up too!)
post #15 of 49
Quote:
Ds surmised that "Male mantises are nothing but sperm in a shell and don't have much fun with the ladies." (his words!).
So cute!! What a great day!
post #16 of 49
I love this forum!
post #17 of 49
I'm printing this out for my dh, and everyone else I know to read. That is EXACTLY why we want to homeschool. So incredibly cool!!! Although, I will say you get MAJOR props for bringing insects into your home.... I'm working to get over my fear of them so we can do similar stuff as dd gets older. You definately get the "COOL MOM OF THE WEEK" award.
post #18 of 49
How fascinating! I hope my son discovers how incredible insects are at some point. Right now at the sight of one he's likely to tell me, "It's just a silly little bug, Momma, squish it!" I'm never sure whether to or *sigh*!
post #19 of 49
What a cool experience! Thanks for sharing it. If you son loves bugs, he's got to see, "life in the undergrowth." It's really amazing, and I am not much of a bug person myself, but I learned so much from it.
post #20 of 49
Great story!

Can I add my learning about bug sex story?

Last fall we found a giant slug on our driveway. He/she was about 8 - 9 inches stretched out. We put it in our bug habitat to watch for a while. About two days after we caught it it laid eggs - so we researched.
Here's what we found out about slugs:
~ they are hermaphroditic but prefer to mate with other slugs rather than to mate with themselves (self mate?)
~ they have a very long elaborate mating ritual in which they display their disproportionately large male genetalia over their heads (their penises are about half the size of their bodies and are light blue)
~ They copulate in midair, suspended by stretchy strands of mucus up to 17 3/4 inches Wanna see - lol?
~ One of the slugs has to gnaw off the penis of the other in order to disengage and the one that loses the penis becomes female only.

All this happened just in time to share at thanksgiving dinner - rofl.
Karen
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Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › They met. They knew. They decided to make love. (UPDATE!!! See #47 She's a tramp!)