Zeitschrift für vergleichende Physiologie

, Volume 68, Issue 1, pp 72–83 | Cite as

Study of the role of the binocular vision in mantids to estimate long distances, using the deimatic reaction as experimental situation

  • Héctor Maldonado
  • Madeleine Benko
  • Marta Isern


  1. 1.

    Deimatic reactions (DR's) of the mantid Stagmatoptera biocellata were elicited by birds (shiny cow-birds and Java sparrows) placed at six different distances. A special set-up was used for successive presentations (Fig. 2). The relationship between the bird-mantid distance, on the one hand, and the occurrence and strength of the DR, on the other hand, was demonstrated (Fig. 3). Normal mantids faced with shiny cow-birds presented a distance-DR's curve similar to that of the normal mantids faced with Java sparrows. Monocular mantids, i.e. mantids whose left eyes were blinded, presented very different distance-DR's curves according to the species of bird they faced (Fig. 3). A graphic method (Figs. 4, 5) revealed that monocular mantids faced with Java sparrows at the shortest distance performed the same as those faced with shiny cow-birds at 30 cm; with Java sparrows at 15 cm as with shiny cow-birds at 45 cm; and so on. A method was designed to determine the absolute size of the image casted by both birds at the six different distances (Fig. 10). A clear-cut correspondence was found between distances at which a similar performance was evoked and distances at which images of similar size were projected. The conclusion was that a mantid deprived of its binocular vision can recognize shapes (i.e. predators) and respond with a DR, but it reacts only in accordance with the absolute size of the image, i.e. without distance estimation.

  2. 2.

    Results showed a response decrement with trials (Figs. 8–10) suggesting that an habituation process is involved.



Short Distance Similar Performance Experimental Situation Graphic Method Distance Estimation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1970

Authors and Affiliations

  • Héctor Maldonado
    • 1
  • Madeleine Benko
    • 1
  • Marta Isern
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Biofísica y BioquímicaInstituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas (IVIC)CaracasVenezuela

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