Exploring mantis vision with a 3D insect cinema

Dr Vivek Nityananda discussed his latest work confirming that the praying mantis uses stereopsis or 3D perception for hunting at BSA Newcastle’s very first SciBar event.

The Newcastle team developed 3D glasses suitable for insects which means they can show the insects any images they want in a specially designed insect cinema.

In the experiments, mantises fitted with tiny glasses attached with beeswax were shown short videos of simulated bugs moving around a computer screen. The mantises didn’t try to catch the bugs when they were in 2D. But when the bugs were shown in 3D, apparently floating in front of the screen, the mantises struck out at them.

Vivek gave a fantastic talk with plenty of opportunities for the audience to get involved, don 3D glasses and watch the movies. Understanding the simpler processing systems of the praying mantis may help us to understand how 3D vision evolved.



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