Let's face it, humans have complicated love lives and mating rituals that may seem strange to some – soap operas, Ferraris and stiletto heels come to mind – but we've got nothing on the praying mantis.While many a woman might choose to leave her mate, female praying mantises take it a step further. Sexual cannibalism isn't new in the animal world, but the praying mantis goes above and beyond in the macabre department.
Most studies have focused on vertebrates and plants, even though there are more than two times as many native terrestrial arthropods on the Greater Antilles as there are plants and vertebrate animals combined.
Deciphering the origins of the three main praying mantis groups on the islands is made more complex by their appearance.
They have triangular heads with bulging eyes supported on flexible necks.
Their elongated bodies may or may not have wings, but all Mantodea have forelegs that are greatly enlarged and adapted for catching and gripping prey; their upright posture, while remaining stationary with forearms folded, has led to the common name praying mantis.
Although the ancestral mantis lineage in Africa went extinct, its descendants in the Greater Antilles have evolved in drastically different directions and have endured there.