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THE RISK OF CANNIBALISM AND MALE MATING BEHAVIOR IN THE MEDITERRANEAN PRAYING MANTID, IRIS ORATORIA

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This study examined male behavior in response to the risk of cannibalism in the Mediterranean praying mantid, Iris oratoria (Mantodea: Mantidae). The risk of cannibalism was manipulated by placing males in one of two positions at the start of a mating trial: Frontal, where the males faced the females' fronts (high risk of cannibalism), or Rear, where the males were behind the females, facing their posteriors (lower risk). Three male behaviors were examined in terms of risk-reduction: whether the male attempted to mount the female, the direction of his first mount attempt, and the time taken for him to attempt to mount. Initial position did not have a significant effect on whether males attempted to mount the females. Males showed a preference for non-frontal mount attempts, and males placed Frontally were less likely to mount from their initial direction than were males placed in the Rear. Males placed in the Rear attempted to mount sooner than males placed Frontally, especially if the males could approach and mount while remaining behind the females. While the males approached the females, movements by both sexes resulted in changes in how the males faced the females,

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