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Weird Mating Habits of Insects

Updated on April 11, 2016
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As if insects are not creepy enough on their own, their mating habits can be downright weird, creepy and brutal - and nature probably designed it that way to ensure the continuity of the species.

And just to prove how strange insects can be when creating their next generation, here are 8 examples of insect mating that will make your eyes pop and insides cringe.

1. Bedbugs

Male bed bugs are lazy creatures and uses a technique called traumatic insemination to mate with their female counterparts. This means that instead of courting and finding the functional reproductive tract of the female bed bug to deposit its sperms, it just simply stabs her in the abdomen and ejaculates it's sperm inside before running away. The sperm then travel through the female's blood stream into the sperm storage area called seminal conceptacles and eventually into her ovaries for fertilization.

Some male bugs may even try to mate with other males using the same technique. This happens because sexual orientation is mainly based on size and males will want to mate with other bugs that are freshly fed, regardless of gender.

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2. Praying mantis

The male praying mantis probably needs a prayer for courage before he goes about looking for a mate. When the praying mantis finds a suitable female, he will slowly approach her, sometimes stop moving for hours while waiting for a suitable moment. When he is ready, he takes her from behind and uses his antennae to hit her head while he starts to mate. The female then turns around and bites the male prayer mantis head and starts eating it. Surprisingly, even without his head, the male prayer mantis continues to mate with her.

For some species of praying mantis, the male can't even inject his sperms until his head is entirely devoured by the female.

However, in reality, most cases of mating are really not that gruesome and do not result in the males getting devoured (this only happens about 5-30% of the time). Females will only eat its own kind if it needs food to survive long enough to reproduce.

3. Mosquitos

You know that annoying buzzing sound you hear when mosquitos are near? That's the sound they make to each other before mating. And to them, that buzzing is a sweet harmonic tune.

Male mosquitos are a little possessive and have a special technique to ensure that once they get the female, no one else will go near her. The male will get hold of the female mosquito from behind to do the deed. The male semen contains a substance which literally acts as a 'mosquito repellent' by making her less attracted to other male mosquitos and also less attractive to other boys.

After mating, the female will then look for fresh blood to help ripen her eggs before laying them in stagnant water.

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4. Scorpionflies

Scorpionflies, despite its scary looking exterior, has one of the more romantic mating techniques. The male scorpionfly will catch a prey (such as caterpillar or flies) and offer it to the female. The female will examine the gift (while he examines her female parts) and if she likes it, she will offer herself to him.

While mating, she will snack on her gift - and of course the larger the gift, the longer the mating time which results in better chances of a successful sperm transfer.

Out of desperation, some weaker scorpionflies males may impersonate females in order to attract bigger flies to give them their offerings. They then take the offerings and repackage these to other REAL female flies to get a piece of the action.

5. Fireflies

Those flying fireflies that we see are actually all males. The glow comes from their bellies and when they are ready to mate, their bellies start to glow a greenish colour light. This attracts the attention of the glowworms which are their female counterparts living on the grass. When the female sees a glow pattern that she likes, she will climb higher onto leaves to perform her own light show. The male will then fly over to start the mating process.

Different species of fireflies will have their own unique glow patterns and this helps to ensure that they are mating with their own kind.

6. Dragonflies

Male dragonflies are very competitive creatures and will use all means to literally wipe out the competition. Prior to mating, he will try to remove another male's sperms in the female genital area (if any). Some species of dragonflies achieve this by using their male parts to push aside the sperms from another male.

Other species have a backward facing hook (which resembles a mini scoop) that is attached to the male part to scoop out other male sperms. After wiping out the competition's sperm, he will then injects his own sperms onto his 'scoop' and then stuffs it into the female dragonfly.

All this are done while the dragonflies are in mid air, with the male dragonfly holding her head between his hind legs, while female dragonfly bends her abdomen towards him.

This mating procedure will repeat again and again for as many males as the female dragonfly wishes to mate and she will delay pregnancy till she is ready.

7. Cockroaches

Cockroaches can mate anywhere, but they probably prefer to do it in the dark. A male cockroach will hold onto the female from behind and start mating. However, it only lasts a few seconds before he is done and over with it. After some time, the female will lay a few hundred eggs and these eggs are all kept in a hard dark black/dark brown casing. The female cockroach will carry it around for days before leaving it in a safe place for the babies to hatch.

8. Water Striders

Male water Striders, to me, are by far the meanest insect mates. They don't bother to engage in any courtship such as 'singing' like the mosquitos or providing females with gifts like the scorpionflies. Instead, they just hop onto the females and tries to mate with them. If there is any form of resistance from the female, the male will engage in a nasty form of blackmail - by tapping on the water surface to attract predators such as fishes or backswimmers to come and attack.

The female will bear the brunt of the attack since she is beneath the male so she has to submit to him.

What a nasty little creatures.

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