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Jul 21 2006

Mantid of the week

Stagmomantis carolina
Stagmomantis carolina lurking in the Twisty Compound, July 2006

Quoth Drees and Jackman in A Field Guide to Texas Insects: “The lore related to female mantids eating the heads of males in order for them to successfully copulate has more recently been questioned. Apparently, the original research was conducted with starved specimens.”

14 comments

  1. Sara

    Heh — I can just hear the arguments:

    “Why, I wouldn’t copulate with you and eat your head if I were starving and you were the last male mantid on earth!”

    or

    “Ew, that’s disgusting! I’d sooner wrap my mandible around a funk-filled bratwurst!”

  2. Ledasmom

    Aw, cute mantid.

  3. Blume

    Next up: reevaluation of the black widow spider.

  4. Sylvanite

    Why were they starving the mantids? Damn patriarchy.

  5. ArtsyReader

    De-lurking to admire the mantid, also to express deep and abiding appreciation for the Spinster Aunt. Any more pictures of Burt and/or dinner?

  6. Pony

    Fuck entymolog(ists) (y). Just slide over here to botany for a bit:

    The Botany of Desire
    A Plant’s Eye View of the World
    Michael Pollan

    In which he sez:

    “Witches and sorcerers cultivated plants with the power to cast spells–in our vocabulary, psychoactive plants. {He lists some plants and the psychoactive chemicals the witches would get from them.) These ingredients would be combined in a hempseed-oil based “flying ointment” that the witches would then administer vaginally using a special dildo. This was the special “broomstick” by which these women were said to travel.”

    Fascinating bit of information no? Not to mention, I could work on my hobby and travel too.

  7. saltyC

    It’s true, I learned in Entomology class like twenty years ago that the female eating the male has never been observed in natural conditions. Stephen Jay Gould wrote about the myth in an essay call “Only the Wings Remained” or something like that, in the book _The Flamingo’s Smile_.

    I think Nikki Craft was involved with the research that debunked that myth, or the sociological roots of why the myth took hold of people’s imagination. I don’t believe she forgot whom to blame.

  8. kathy a

    salty — “i don’t believe she forgot who to blame” is a summary deserving of a prize.

    subject an organism to extreme stress, and you get either unusual behavior or death. i’m good with that for the fucking cancer cells, but not for research about the “normal” behavior of complex female organisms.

  9. KTal

    Thanks Salty for mentioning nikki craft, although she didn’t expose the myth, she uses the symbol in much of her activism. You got me to go to her many pages and then beyond, spent the whole day casually reading lotsa stuff.

    That’s what I like so much about this place, I can chip away at my ignorance. Thanks.

  10. Chasingmoksha

    I will pass on this one. Seems too phallic for me.

  11. Sydney

    Oh screw the mantises anyway. You still have plenty of spiders who do it, right?

  12. kristi

    I used to raise mantids when I was a kid (yes, I was/am a geek), and my females often ate everything BUT the head. I wasn’t starving them, either … they were just voracious eaters. Female mantids don’t take any shit from anybody. ;)

  13. ::wendy::

    I’ve been loyal to my dream of a lotus elise ever since I first saw one on the road in the UK in the early 80′s. Recently I’ve been toying with the idea of replacing my 12yr old honda civic with a Toyota Prius.

    Now I I’ll dream of selling my home, living in my office (I know I can sleep under the desk – I tried it), and buying this pretty thang…. …thanks!

  14. Julie

    Beautiful mantid! Bugs SO rule!

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