Sexual Cannibalism - Evolution and Maintenance - Mistaken Identity Hypothesis

Mistaken Identity Hypothesis

The mistaken identity hypothesis suggests that sexual cannibalism occurs when females fail to identify males that try to court. This hypothesis suggests that a cannibalistic female attacks and consumes the male without the knowledge of mate quality. In pre-copulatory sexual cannibalism, mistaken identity can be seen when a female does not allow the male to perform the courtship dance and engages in attack. There is no conclusive evidence for this hypothesis because scientists struggle to distinguish between mistaken identity and the other hypotheses (aggressive spillover, adaptive foraging, and mate choice).

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