And you guys think you have it bad!
Pity the plight of the poor praying mantis. Gather around for a little science lesson...
The other day my wife and I are sitting on the back deck. She's tending to a potted plant and says, "Hey! A walking stick!"
"Kill it," I scream, because everyone knows sticks shouldn't walk, a mutant aberration of science gone awry. And because everything I know about science I've learned from cartoons.
Upon further exploration, my wife says, "No...wait... It's a praying mantis."
Which is even worse. "Squish it! Get rid of it! For God's sake, destroy the beast!"
"No," says my wife, "praying mantises are good. She'll eat the bad bugs."
Hmm. "What in the world makes you think it's a female?" I ask.
She rolls her eyes, says, "There's a huge difference between male and female praying mantises."
I reached deep into the darkest pockets of my useless and dusty stored facts and plucked out something horrific. "Oh, yeah! It has a head, right? Because after the mantises procreate, the female eats the male's head."
"That's not the difference I'm talking about, but, yes, they do that."
"But why?" I knew the females feasted on heads, just couldn't figure out their motivation. "Are the females tired of a lifetime of male oppression? Are they into weird insectoid, extreme S&M and get carried away? Do they hate males?"
At this point, my wife's not a firm believer in the adage, There's no such thing as a stupid question. "They're just bugs doing...buggy things."
"Well...humans can't do it," I grumble.
Ever the scientist, my wife gives it more thought. "I imagine the males' head is full of protein and good for the eggs. Mantises only mate once, then it's off with the males' head."
"So...you're saying that the male kinda just hangs out, has sex once, then at the peak of his short life, he gets his head eaten?"
"...No wonder they pray all the time."
For more strange science (not really) and weird wonders of the world (or at least a spooky lil' Kansas town in the sixties), check out Peculiar County by clicking....wait for it...RIGHT HERE!