Eur. J. Entomol. 109 (3): 295-301, 2012 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2012.039

The functional significance of mantis peering behaviour

Karl KRAL
Institute of Zoology, Karl-Franzens University Graz, Universitaetsplatz 2, A-8010 Graz, Austria; e-mail: karl.kral@uni-graz.at

The aim of this review is to explain the functional significance of mantis peering behaviour from an entomological perspective. First the morphological and optical features of the mantis compound eye that are important for spatial vision are described. The possibility that praying-mantises use binocular retinal disparity (stereopsis) and other alternative visual cues for determining distance in prey capture, are discussed. The primary focus of the review is the importance of peering movements for estimating the distance to stationary objects. Here the following aspects are examined: (1) Direct evidence via object manipulation experiments of absolute distance estimation with the aid of self-induced retinal image motion; (2) the mechanism of absolute distance estimation (with the interaction of visual and proprioceptive information); (3) the range of absolute and relative distance estimation; (4) the influence of target object features on distance estimation; and (5) the relationship between peering behaviour and habitat structures, based on results of studies on three species of mantis.

Keywords: Mantids, Mantis religiosa, Polyspilota, Tenodera aridifolia sinensis, compound eye, spatial vision, binocular cues, motion cues, range estimation, habitat structure

Received: January 12, 2012; Accepted: February 14, 2012; Published: July 2, 2012

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