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Scientists Give Praying Mantises Tiny 3D Glasses

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the all-the-better-to-see-you-with dept.

Science 55

An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at Newcastle University are outfitting praying mantises with tiny 3D glasses in order to study how their vision works. From the article: 'Praying mantises have stereoscopic vision, unlike most invertebrates. This makes them sophisticated hunters, and ideal subjects for a team from Newcastle University led by vision scientist Jenny Read. By putting 3-D glasses on the mantises and faking them out, Reid and her colleagues want to learn how the insect's vision differs from ours.""

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Oculus rift: mantis simulator (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46856321)

Eat your way though eager bachelors, defend your territory against other insects, boss fight nerdy etymologists.

Re:Oculus rift: mantis simulator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46856467)

What do people who study words have to do with this?

Re:Oculus rift: mantis simulator (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 8 months ago | (#46856665)

The pedants always have jobs, since lord knows they can't grasp context!

Re:Oculus rift: mantis simulator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46856747)

Come on, at least tell him that the word he looked for is entomologist.

Re:Oculus rift: mantis simulator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46859349)

I'll just leave this [xkcd.com] here

Re:Oculus rift: mantis simulator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46857223)

Now if they fit the remote control system that was mentioned a while back for cockroaches then you have the perfect American consumer Simulator.

Praying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46861385)

Why is science getting involved with religious insects?

Re:Oculus rift: mantis simulator (1)

antdude (79039) | about 8 months ago | (#46861833)

Etymologists?

"Different from ours" ?? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#46856337)

Reid and her colleagues want to learn how the insect's vision differs from ours.

I think I'd start with: compound eyes.

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (3, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#46856357)

By the way: "stereoscopic" vision is hardly unusual in arthropods. Most crabs and shrimp have it. Hunting spiders often have it (not even just "stereo"... more like surround sound). And so on. I am pretty sure a lot of flies can see forward in stereo.

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (4, Interesting)

AK Marc (707885) | about 8 months ago | (#46856465)

Perhaps they are making some distinction between stereoscopic and binocular vision. A multi-eye configuration isn't necessarily binocular, even if the eye clusters are separated into two spaces. The eyes are well spread for their size, but they don't move and focus the same, so they may not image the same.

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#46856511)

That's a good point.

But I do know that certain hunting spiders do have stereoscopic vision, however I don't know what the resolution is. It might be terrible.

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 8 months ago | (#46856667)

Depends on your definition of "stereoscopic" as that has no technical meaning I know of. The meaning I'd infer is that the brain creates a single image from multiple separate images. When bug eyes are shown in movies and such, it's always as a kaleidoscope image, not a single image, distorted or not. It's never been answered how it appears to the bugs. They don't like talking to researchers.

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (2)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 8 months ago | (#46857011)

Dragonflies certainly seem to be pretty good at judging the distance to nearby insects to attack them. And hoverflies as well, are really good at hovering in place and chasing other insects away. Actually, many insects eem to be able to judge distances quite well. Just landing on a flower or a turd wouldn't be easy without stereoscopic vision.

On the other hand, quite a lot of insects fly round in such a clumsy manner that you wonder whether they even have eyes at all. Crane flies, beetles, heteroptera,...

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46863847)

Dragonflies are another predatory insect that I would certainly guess have 3D vision, although to my knowledge that has never been tested.
Jenny Read

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (1)

cmdr_tofu (826352) | about 8 months ago | (#46857461)

Sorry just replying to undo bad moderation. Didn't mean to "bug" you :)

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46863895)

Actually, insect vision has been very well studied, though not their 3D vision. The classic movie "kaleidoscope" idea is wrong; they see a coarse, low-resolution single image through their compound eyes.
Jenny Read

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (4, Informative)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 8 months ago | (#46856497)

By the way: "stereoscopic" vision is hardly unusual in arthropods. Most crabs and shrimp have it. Hunting spiders often have it (not even just "stereo"... more like surround sound). And so on. I am pretty sure a lot of flies can see forward in stereo.

Are you just citing arthropods that have multiple eyes that can see in different directions? Stereoscopic means that the difference in what the two eyes see can be interpreted as depth (i.e. through parallax). Think of it like stereo vs mono sound. Just because you have two speakers that you point in different directions doesn't mean you have stereo sound even though it might fill the room better than a single speaker, the difference between what's coming out of the two speakers is what makes it stereo.

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#46856537)

Yes, you are correct that I might have conflated two similar-pointing eyes with "stereoscopic", for some of those creatures.

But on the other hand, I do know what stereoscopic vision is, and some arthropods are known to have it (like some of the spiders I mentioned above for example). So I wasn't completely wrong.

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46857531)

Hi, Apparently I'm posting as "Anonymous Coward" due to not having used Slashdot before, but I'm Jenny Read who is leading this research. While I completely agree that probably lots of invertebrates have stereoscopic vision, I'm not aware of any *proof* that they do, for any species other than mantids. If you know otherwise, e.g. for spiders, please do point me to to it! NB our original press release carefully referred to mantids as "the only invertebrates known to have 3D vision", but this got a little obscured in the retelling on some sites.

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46857933)

Hi Jenny, posting as Anonymous Coward is usually frowned upon if you're trying to make a salient point or request for information. Anyone can be AC, and claim to be anyone.
-Jenny Read

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46859339)

Thats not Jenny Read! I'm Jenny Read

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46862503)

And anyone can make an account with any name that isn't already taken, so I'm not sure what advantages that you think signing in confers, other than maybe continuing the Slashdot circlejerk.

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 8 months ago | (#46860073)

While I completely agree that probably lots of invertebrates have stereoscopic vision, I'm not aware of any *proof* that they do, for any species other than mantids.

Thank you for clarifying this.

No, I'm not aware of any actual proof. I have read comments that certain hunting spiders (Wolf Spiders for example) have 2 of their 8 eyes enlarged and forward-facing for "stereoscopic vision" while chasing prey, but since you mention it I am not aware of any research substantiating that claim.

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46863819)

(Jenny again - since I've started as AC!). Thanks for replying. Phew, glad I hadn't missed a paper! Someone should totally study hunting spiders - I agree, it seems very likely to me that they do use stereoscopic vision.

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46856507)

or this: xkcd.org
http://xkcd.com/1012/

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 8 months ago | (#46857277)

I could be wrong but they don't look like compound eyes to me [google.com.au] . Coincidently I recently photographed a large green Mantis in my yard using a macro lens, unlike other large insects it feels like they are looking at you, they have what look like rudimentary pupils in the center of their eyes and turn their head so to follow your movements. The "head cocking" behaviour they display when observing a human is very similar to the way a bird behaves when it looks at you. Another similarity to birds is their reaction to shadows, they instinctively "duck down" when a heavy shadow passes over them.

Dragonflies are an example of a large insect that definitely does have compound eyes, a swivelling head, and if you've watched them hunt smaller flying bugs it's obvious they have very accurate depth perception. Their eyes allow them to see all directions at once and therefore don't appear to look at you at all, let alone watch your every move for 10-15 minutes while you fiddle with the camera.

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (2)

BaronAaron (658646) | about 8 months ago | (#46859921)

They have compound eyes like any other insect. They just happen to have Pseudopupils [wikipedia.org] . Compound eyes have pigments that reflect light from wide angles and let straight on light pass through to the photo-receptor.

Mantis have a high contrast between the two states giving the appearance of a pupil, probably to creep us out a lot more.

Re:"Different from ours" ?? (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | about 8 months ago | (#46860107)

I have had some Mantis on my front porch for a summer and had one as a pet for a while. I also noticed the strange pupil that looks right at you no matter where you move. They do turn their head to look you in the face, so they can see clearly. The pupil is actually an optical illusion though. The eye is compound and the individual eye segments that are aligned right with your viewpoint show as the dark spot. Imagine a large pile of drinking straws all lined up together. You would only be able to see through the few of them that point directly at you and the others would block your vision.

Go the whole hog... (2)

Kittenman (971447) | about 8 months ago | (#46856343)

Give the little fellows 'Google' glasses. See what they make of those.

Re:Go the whole hog... (2)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 8 months ago | (#46856735)

>Give the little fellows 'Google' glasses. See what they make of those.

The NSA doesn't need any more ideas.

"Yo dude, I think we're bugged"

Finally... (4, Funny)

meridien (718383) | about 8 months ago | (#46856373)

Great. Maybe they will enjoy the stupid 3D movies that no one else gives a crap about.

Re:Finally... (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 8 months ago | (#46856435)

But they wouldn't buy enough popcorn and soda to keep the cinemas in business

Re:Finally... (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 8 months ago | (#46856635)

Preying Mantis porn, they're all snuff films. Cue scary music [youtube.com]

Re:Finally... (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about 8 months ago | (#46856769)

Preying Mantis ....

Shouldn't this be the correct spelling of this insect?

Re:Finally... (2)

SigmundFloyd (994648) | about 8 months ago | (#46856997)

No. The scientific name is "mantis religiosa", which tells you why praying is right.

Re:Finally... (1)

Agent0013 (828350) | about 8 months ago | (#46860143)

It's probably related to how they hold their arms when sitting still. It looks like they are praying.

And prosthetics (5, Funny)

Boawk (525582) | about 8 months ago | (#46856403)

Scientists returned to the drawing board after their first field trial of putting the glasses on a praying mantis ended in failure. The team is soon expected to announce the design prosthetic ears for the praying mantises,

Ok glass .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46856535)

Ok glass, where are the bugs?

Great! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46856551)

A f'ing praying mantis got to try 3D before I could, just GREAT.

Just what a mantis boy needs (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 8 months ago | (#46856657)

To see that slut bitch coming before she bites off your head.

Actors (1)

CBravo (35450) | about 8 months ago | (#46856729)

Are they calling actors cockroaches? Or were they watching politics on 3d?

I for one (1)

dimko (1166489) | about 8 months ago | (#46856741)

greet our predating mantis overlords!

Re:I for one (1)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 8 months ago | (#46857667)

Predating?

Would it not be easier... (1)

Badger Nadgers (2423622) | about 8 months ago | (#46856879)

Would it not be easier to comparing how the mantis 3D vision works normally and then fitting humans with different types of 3D glasses to fake *them* out?

Ah yes, their new customer base... (1)

MindPrison (864299) | about 8 months ago | (#46857199)

...3D television with active glasses failed the human audience, so considering how many insects there are in this would...

...this could be a HIT in the insect world, kinda makes you wonder how they're going to pay for them though, aphid milk?

Re:Ah yes, their new customer base... (1)

MindPrison (864299) | about 8 months ago | (#46857205)

.. how many insects there are in this would...

Damn spellchecker #%!%^&@!!

The Post Report (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46857595)

The scientist involved reported significant proportion of their praying mantis population to be feeling unwell after the experiment.

Funding (0)

Flammon (4726) | about 8 months ago | (#46857757)

Surprisingly, it's not government funded. I totally expected this be funded by the government.

But who's the designer? (1)

LaughingVulcan (3511853) | about 8 months ago | (#46858507)

Until we know who designed the glasses, there will be no telling just how popular they might become... If they can only capture 20% of the Mantis-3d-Glass market share, will they have failed?

How is this helpful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46858565)

Seriously who funds this sh&t.

JIC though all hail our new all seeing mantis overlords!

Sheldon Cooper (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46859127)

He looks like a giant praying mantis and he would be able to offer a lot more insight into the matter, IMO

It's a passing thing... (1)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | about 8 months ago | (#46859515)

It won't last. 3D has never managed to keep the attention of the masses, and mantis' will be no different. Soon, they'll be preying for normal vision again.

This is just the beginning... (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | about 8 months ago | (#46861253)

Stage 1: Work out mantises' ability to use digital visual aids using VR.

Stage 2: Upgrade research to make them use AR.

Stage 3: Make giant, intelligent mutant mantises.

Stage 4: Teach giant, intelligent mutant mantises (natures most efficient killer insects) to follow orders.

Stage 5: Profi... Aaarrrghh! They've gone rogue!

Re:This is just the beginning... (1)

Agripa (139780) | about 8 months ago | (#46884771)

Stage 6: Scientists postpone mantis DNA tests indefinitely and equip new test subjects with rifles.

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