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African temptresses cannibalizing New Zealand males: researchers

English.news.cn   2014-01-21 20:36:15

WELLINGTON, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- A South African invader is giving a new twist to the term "fatal attraction" in a New Zealand mating game, according to research out Tuesday.

An alarming number of native male praying mantises were being devoured by South African females, which lure their prey to destruction by exuding an irresistible erotic scent, said University of Auckland behavioral ecologist Dr. Greg Holwell.

The more delicate New Zealand male approached the exotic female enthusiastically, lacking the caution of male South African praying mantises which have an in-built wariness when wooing their aggressive potential mates, he said.

Around 70 percent of native males had been killed and eaten.

"Our males find the foreigners more attractive than the home- grown variety, yet it's impossible for them to mate with the exotic species -- so they die in vain," he said.

Native females of the insect species, which are famous for devouring their male partners once they have mated, were struggling to find native males to mate with and to eat.

New Zealand's native praying mantises were officially "at risk" and action was needed to get rid of the invaders, he said.

Editor: Yang Yi
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