Image of the Day: Mantis Glasses

Researchers outfitted praying mantises with miniature spectacles to investigate how they see the world. 

Feb 9, 2018
The Scientist Staff

A praying mantis wears 3-D glasses.NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY, U.K.

Researchers at the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University were interested in how vision works in praying mantises. To find out, they glued tiny, 3-D glasses onto mantises using beeswax, and then showed them movies of bugs to see how they reacted. The scientists also showed the mantises complex dot patterns that allowed them to compare the insects’ vision to that of humans.

“This is a completely new form of 3D vision as it is based on change over time instead of static images,” says behavioral ecologist Vivek Nityananda in a press release. “In mantises it is probably designed to answer the question ‘is there prey at the right distance for me to catch?’” The findings may have applications in robotics, the researchers say.

V. Nityananda et al., "A novel form of stereo vision in the praying mantis," Curr Biol, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2018.01.012, 2018.