Praying mantises are the only insects known to have stereo vision. We used a comparative approach to determine how the mechanisms underlying stereopsis in mantises differ from those underlying primate stereo vision. By testing mantises with virtual 3D targets we showed that mantis stereopsis enables prey capture in complex scenes but relies on a different mechanism to the cross-correlation of eye images seen in primates. My talk will further discuss how stereopsis combines with second-order motion perception to enable the detection of camouflaged prey by mantises. Finally the talk will highlight the benefits of a comparative approach towards understanding visual cognition more generally.
Vivek Nityananda has a PhD in Animal Behaviour from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He has since worked at the University of Minnesota, St Paul and Queen Mary University of London and is currently a David Phillips Research Fellow at Newcastle University He has previously been a Marie Curie Research Fellow, a Human Frontiers Science Program Fellow and a fellow of the College of Life Sciences at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He currently researches the ecology and evolution of sensory behaviour and the evolution of overconfidence.