Responses to computer-generated visual stimuli by the male praying mantis, Sphodromantis lineola (Burmeister)

Frederick R. Prete, Lawrence E. Hurd, Donn Branstrator, Anne Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We tested male mantis' responses to square, computer-generated visual stimuli of various sizes to determine the stimulus parameters that affect their striking behaviour. Males in a high-hunger group displayed a sharp preference for solid black 12 × 12-degree squares moving linearly against a white background, especially when the squares moved downward (versus horizontally). Males in a low-hunger group visually tracked but, with rare exception, did not strike at any linearly moving squares. In contrast, when solid black squares moved erratically around visual field centre, males struck regularly at them irrespective of hunger level, even when the squares were as large as 47 × 47 degrees. Males also recognized black-and-white Julesz-patterned square stimuli moving against a similarly patterned background, indicating that they recognized the synchronous movement of a group of stimulus elements as a single moving object. Finally, we compared allometric and life history data between male and females S. lineola to elucidate the possible reasons for the differences between male response patterns and previously published data on females. These comparisons suggest that males employ a different behavioural strategy than do females when faced with large, erratically moving visual stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-510
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002


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