Nathan Burke, an entomologist at the University of Auckland, discovered an unusual method of protection in springbok mantises. As with other species of these insects, in 60% of cases of their mating ends with the fact that a larger and stronger female gnaws off the male's head and eats him. But male springboks have mastered a useful life hack - they added an element of dominance over the female, which allows them to survive.
The mating problem of praying mantises is the problem of males. Females can easily produce offspring without "dads", they just clone themselves. And eating a lover has a purely practical function, his flesh saturates the female and improves the conditions for the development of her offspring. That is, the female herself does not need any mating, it is the male who wants to leave his genetic material, but at the same time categorically does not want to be eaten after that.
Such a conflict gave rise to an interesting evolutionary course - the males, who figured out how to cope with the females, kept alive and continued to mate again. This has become a guarantee of not just survival, but also the prolongation of the genus, therefore, the males shamelessly beat their partners before the start of sexual intercourse. If the male manages to grab the female first with its serrated forepaws, he has a 78% chance of survival. And if not, they will eat it 100%, for arrogance and aggression.
According to Burke, he watched at times the most real hand-to-hand combat, which lasted up to 13 seconds. The culmination was a powerful blow to the female's stomach, which injured her, but did not kill her. Having proved his strength and firmness of intentions, the male calmly carried out the mission and left. However, in about half of the cases, the female turned out to be stronger and the fight ended with a feast, and did not go into the mating stage.