After stumbling upon this quaint coupling while deadheading the Verbenas in the Faire Lurie bed along the driveway, dashing back into the house for the camera and snapping a few images until the female protagonist appeared ready to lunge at me, it was fully expected that a story would be written about the male having to give up his life for love.
Clever song titles came to mind, such as Maneater and Love Hurts. But digging a little further into the files of Google revealed that the cannibalistic trait happens less often then widely believed, with the male flying away blissfully alive after the conjugal visit with the much larger female.
There are certain species of mantids more likely to engage in the violent behavior during and after mating, especially in captivity where there is not ample food for the female. Out in the wild, like in the Fairegarden, there is food aplenty since we do not spray pesticides or poisons in the garden here. There is also ample space and opportunity for the male to escape afterwards, not being in a cage or glass jar.
Information for this post was found on a blog containing research papers from Bryn Mawr College that can be seen by clicking