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mantisPastor Wilson posted this cartoon. I thought it was adorable and funny.

Naturally I would find it quite funny, but it’s not my head on the chopping block and I quite approve of shelves actually getting  hung, by whatever means necessary…

I hate to be such a spoil sport here and ruin the fun, but the female mantis biting the head off her mate after having sex is an urban legend, a bit of science mythology, not unlike some other urban legends having to do with those “manly alpha wolves,” but I digress.

I’m not going to post a dozen links to all the actual research and genuine science that debunks these urban legends, but suffice it to say, male mantis generally mate repeatedly with multiple females. Obviously that would not be a well documented fact if they were all missing their heads.

Manti or Mantises? I really have no idea…..

Besides the pleasure I take in frequently aiming a well deserved kick in Pastor Wilson’s direction, in the shins right below the kneecap, hard, I also wanted to say something else. Myths and legends tend to shape our reality. Think critically and question everything. The fact  that we simply call some myths “science,” has created this kind of credential, this misplaced authority that lends credence to things that aren’t even true, that aren’t even “science.”

What, are you just some kind of delusional science denier? Bow to the superior authority of Teh Science….even the lies and urban legends

Just  to add an extra element of drama or perhaps some more sexual fear and excitement, plus a healthy dose of truth, what science actually discovered about mantises is far more tantalizing and a bit comical. Female mantis really only bite the head off their mate in captivity or in distress. It turns out that when they have an abundance of resources and the ability to escape the scene, a situation you would find in a natural setting, no decapitation after mating occurs.

We can speculate as to why, and so we shall. From a female manti perspective, the idiotic male has failed to protect her, managed to get them both captured, left them without resources, and now serves no valid or meaningful purpose in the cycle life anymore….

Seems perfectly reasonable to me. At least his head will offer some valuable nutrition….

In order to replicate these experiments, the female mantis was first starved half to death. She wasn’t demonstrating mating behavior or sexual practices at all, she was just hangry, and if you are a bug you simply eat the first thing they put in the cage with you.

One thing I’ve learned about science, even the real kind, it is often heavily dominated by male perceptions and perspectives. Human male perceptions. I say that with all good humor, in fact it’s often hard just to stifle giggles. I suspect giggles should not be stifled at all, especially in light of such absurdity. It is just that often it does not even occur to them that a mantis is simply a mantis, a wolf simply a wolf, and not actually a sex obsessed representative of some caricature of human mating behavior.

Like, there’s always a slight possibility that people and critters have some other motivations, diverse biological needs that drive their behavior, needs that can extend well beyond, who can I mate with next in order to get the shelves hung??

Just saying.