- A recent study by Newcastle University tested the vision of praying mantises by making them a pair of tiny, spiffy 3D glasses.
- During the 2D viewing of a few dots moving around, the mantis didn’t show any interest but once the 3D version came on, it started trying to attack the image.
- Having a better understanding of how vision works and how it came about will help scientists in any area from healthcare to entertainment.
In order to prove that invertebrates have stereopsis, or 3D vision, a team of researchers from Newcastle University have recently published a study in Scientific Reports that tested the vision of praying mantises by first making them a pair of spiffy 3D glasses.
Yes, we now have 3D glasses for insects. According to Popular Science, the team needed a way to definitively test if insects can, in fact, see in three dimensions. Since asking them was out of the question (praying mantises are notoriously hard to talk to), the team crafted a set of green and blue lens and attached them to a mantis using beeswax.
As it turns out, praying mantises can’t really see red, which is why green was substituted in. After the lens were made, the team sat the mantis down in front of a screen and made it watch a series of films sort of like that scene from A Clockwork Orange only way less violent and, you know, with a mantis.
During the 2D viewing of a few dots moving around, the mantis didn’t show any interest. However, once the 3D version came on, it started trying to attack the image thinking the dots were a delicious prey item. Check it out:
So what does this prove and why is it important to us? Well, it proves that some invertebrates see in 3D. The reason the team decided to use a praying mantis was because they have very simple internal systems that are easily understood. With this new information, they hope that further researcher will shine a light on how creatures evolved to have stereopsis in the first place. Having a fundamental understanding of how vision works and how it came about will help us in many areas in the future from healthcare to entertainment.
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