A Praying Mantis Wearing Tiny 3D Glasses for "Scientific Research"

By Jamie Condliffe on at

You may have thrown your 3D glasses away a long while back, but not this little critter. After all, this praying mantis has had his glued to his face by scientists in the name of "research."

In fact, this is what Newcastle University scientists in the UK are doing to try and understand the eyes of the insect world. By giving the praying mantis a pair of 3D specs—they don't get much choice in the matter, really—the researchers are testing their depth perception to see how it differs from that of humans. Unusually for invertebrates, praying mantises have stereoscopic vision, hence the interest.

The experiments sound interesting, if infuriating for the insects. The mantis has the glasses attached (using bee's wax, not actual glue, animal activists), and is then placed in front of a computer monitor that displays images in 3D. By adjusting the 3D effects on the display, the researchers try and freak the animals out by making it seem as if an object is headed right at them. They've yet to work out exactly how the insect vision differs from that of humans, but at least they're having fun finding out.

The researchers have kindly made a video called Man, Mantis & Machine to accompany the work, because, of course they have. Watch it below. Try not to laugh. [Newcastle University via Discovery]