Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 12, Issue 6, pp 737–752 | Cite as

The Visual Orientation Strategies of Mantis religiosa and Empusa fasciata Reflect Differences in the Structure of Their Visual Surroundings

  • Karl Kral
  • Dusan Devetak


In the present study, peering behaviour, which is used to measure distance by the image motion caused by head movement, is examined in two types of mantid. Mantis religiosa inhabits a region of dense grass consisting of uniform, generally uniformly aligned, and closely spaced elements and executes slow, simple peering movements. In contrast, Empusa fasciata climbs about in open regions of shrubs and bushes which consist of irregular, variably aligned and variably spaced elements and it executes comparatively quick, complex peering movements. Hence, it seems that in these two species of mantid, the same orientation mechanism has been adapted to the unique structures of their visual surroundings. Apparently M. religiosa uses motion parallax and E. fasciata uses a combination of motion parallax and forward and backward movements (image expansion/contraction over time) to detect object distances.

praying mantis visual behaviour adaptive behaviour depth perception image motion 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karl Kral
    • 1
  • Dusan Devetak
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of ZoologyUniversity of GrazGrazAustria
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Pedagogical FacultyUniversity of MariborMariborSlovenia

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