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Re: Fish pain - Insect gains - Who will PETA the poor Worm?

* From: "S. Hieber" <shieber at yahoo_com>

......As for male praying mantis.  No one knows if they learn
their lesson -- no one has tested their behavior after
being eaten.   And what some guys would do for you know
what, who says an insect wouldn't risk it or ignore the

I studied hunger and food consumption in praying mantids, and I have seen behavior that certainly looks like they feel pain. If a mantid gets an injury to a foot, it will snatch it up and put it in its mouth and groom it. It puts the foot part way down and then returns it to the mouth for more grooming. It may do this repeatedly for several minutes.

At least in the species I studied, Tenodera sinensis, the large Chinese mantid, the males sneak up on the females and then pounce on them. The females become immobile if they are ready to be mated, so if the male lands on the female pointed the wrong way, he can reverse his position without any movement from the female. If the eggs in the female are not developed, she is not ready to be mated. She will struggle and scramble about when the male lands on her, and he will lose interest and wander off without trying to copulate. I have observed more than a hundred matings in the field when I was measuring food consumption, and males never got eaten. A female that has a male on her will spend the day down in the vegetation, rather than up on the flowers, where she normally gets most of her food which is insects that visit flowers. After the mating is over she will be up on the flowers the next day, and she did not eat the male, because, if she had, I would have seen the weight gain. It is true that, if you cut a male's head off, copulatory movements of the abdomen are initiated. However, this happens very rarely in Tenodera. While headless males may complete mating, the whole notion of manitd cannibalism, and "gruesome wedding rituals" has taken on a mythical status, starting with lurid descriptions by Jean Henri Fabre. It happens a lot less than most people think. I saw in the field a fair number of females that had two males mounted on them. This always resulted in a silent, protracted struggle for position, where the loser would give up and leave after about a day.

Paul Krombholz in humid, summer-like central Mississippi