Sure, love can break your heart. But if you're a male praying mantis, it can literally eat you alive. During mating, the female bites off his head... and then devours his corpse for nourishment.
This preying mantis has been superbly engineered for speed and power...and has a voracious appetite for other insects.
A little too voracious, if you ask this male.
Autumn is in the air and he's feeling frisky.
But time is not on his side.
He must mate before the killing winter arrives.
This is his best chance.
A well-fed female is a well-mannered one.
He latches on to her shapely thorax-and cautiously inserts sperm into her abdomen.
The female waits patiently...or is it hungrily?
He has all the time to wonder.
Mating can last for hours.
But not this time.
She devours his head.
This doesn't stop their affair.
If anything, his dying spasms increase the amount of sperm delivered.
When the female has had enough, she breaks things off...and dumps him.
A harsh fate? Not necessarily.
Unlike thousands of other mantises who died early, he got to breed. In the game of life, that's a resounding victory.
Munching on his carcass provides her with additional nourishment she can use when she lays her eggs...up to 200 of them. They'll stay here over the winter and hatch in the spring.