Home » 5 Animals That Eat Their Mates
Aesthetic forest, nature background

5 Animals That Eat Their Mates

Animal mating is a high-risk activity. Males are at risk of perishing quite frequently. However, they are not only lost to male rivalry. In some species, the larger and stronger females not only kill them, but also consume them. Females often turn to sexual cannibalism to replenish the energy and nutrients they expend during childbirth. Learn about six species of animals that regularly consume their partners.


The mantis is an insect that, in some species, engages in sexual cannibalism. Female mantises are larger and more powerful than males, which gives them an advantage while hunting. To attract males, females release pheromones, a chemical signal. The male is especially vulnerable to attack when trying to mate with a female. Nerves in the male mantis’ abdomen regulate the body, allowing it to mate even if the female removes its head. Females expend a lot of energy throughout pregnancy and birth because they produce up to 100 eggs. Therefore, the female gets the nutrients she needs to reproduce by devouring the male. Some species of mantis are capable of parthenogenesis, or asexual reproduction, and they use males as a food source for this process.

Chinese Mantis (Tenodera sinensis) in Pennsylvania

Black widow

Another species that occasionally engages in sexual cannibalism is the black widow spider. Male black widow spiders, similar to male mantises, are substantially smaller than females. The females coat their webs with their pheromones before they release them. The male will next undertake web reduction, in which it will cut away at the female’s web and cover her fragrance with its own. In order to mate with the female, the male must wedge part of its body between the female’s fangs. This leaves it vulnerable to being consumed. Some research has indicated, however, that black widows only consume their mates when they are captured and held captive.

close up of a black widow spider
Photo by Bruno Guerra on Pexels.com


Sometimes fatal, these small chameleons’ mating rituals can be quite fierce. As if it weren’t bad enough, both sexes engage in combat during the mating process.

Typically, this results in the early demise of both sexes. These chameleons only survive for around four to five months at the most. There is such a high mortality rate during mating that the whole chameleon population of Labord disappears until the eggs hatch.

closeup photography of chameleon
Photo by Nandhu Kumar on Pexels.com

Black widow

The black widow spider is another creature that occasionally consumes its own kind for sexual satisfaction. Male black widow spiders, like male mantises, are significantly smaller than their female counterparts. Female spiders leave their pheromone-scented scent all over the webs they spin. When a male is interested in a female, he will undertake web reduction, in which he will chop away at the web and cover the female’s scent with his own. The male must wedge part of his body between the female’s fangs in order to mate with her. This makes it easy pickings for hungry mouths. While it may happen more frequently in captivity, research suggests that black widows rarely consume their mates in the wild.

Black Widow with egg sac
Black Widow with egg sac by Insects Unlocked Project is licensed under CC-CC0 1.0


People know that bees collect pollen and make honey, but drone bees don’t do either of those things. One of these bees’ only jobs is to mate with a queen bee. Dictator bees die when they mate, and when they’re done, their bodies fall apart, leaving part of their endophallus connected to the queen.

Most drone bees don’t live longer than 90 days. While drone bees are trying to meet, they might die if there isn’t enough food. Drone bees are sometimes pushed out of hives by worker bees to make sure the queen has enough food.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment