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Posted by bio_man   February 9, 2018   1125 views

Any animal capable of seeing in 3D, such as humans, have the ability to visually perceive depth. No other insect but the Praying mantis is capable of this. Because of this, this predatory insect excels at detecting prey that comes within striking distance, but unlike us, their depth perception only works when the prey is moving.

In a new study, scientists glued the world’s tiniest 3D glasses (above, left) on 20 praying mantises (Sphodromantis lineola) and showed them a series of movies depicting patches of moving dots that were camouflaged against a matching background, and which are perceived as potential prey items to the insect.

The insects tried to catch these dots that appeared to be within 2.5 centimeters of their perch. And they could still do it even when the “prey” item, or dot configuration, looked completely different to the two eyes, something that people found challenging when they were asked to perform the same task, and here's what it suggests. Humans see in 3D by stitching together the actual image coming in from one eye versus the other, but this work shows that praying mantises only bother stitching together the motion, the actual image doesn’t matter to them.  It’s the first time this kind of 3D vision has been found in nature.


vision depth perception insects praying mantis
Posted in Research
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