Praying mantis hangs both ways

Greg Holwell, an Australian post-doc researcher, travelled to Queensland hoping to study sexual cannibalism in praying mantises, or mantids. But he got more than he bargained for.

Rather than finding examples of females eating males, he found that male Ciulfina are identical except they have genitalia that are the mirror image of one another.

    “Some males are essentially right handed or left handed in their genitalia… Their genitalia point in one direction or the other, which is a very unusual phenomenon… This is really a big thing… It may just be a genetic mutation that’s occurred at some point and because left and right-handed males don’t have any particular advantage over another, both forms have survived in the population”

The researchers also observed the females eating the spermatophore after mating — and don’t know yet if she’s just tidying up or controlling which males are successful at fertilising her.