Help from the Wind

Crypsis (blending with the surroundings) is common among the Praying Mantises that can be difficult to detect when they perch on the flowers and leaves of plants that they mimic. On a still day, a cryptic mantis can wait motionless on a plant to avoid discovery by other predators or detection by unwary prey. However, when it moves, the motion can draw attention of prey and it approaches stealthily.

Plants are not always still. On windy days, plant leaves and flowers will sway in the wind. Hiroshi Watanabe and Eizi Yano* studied the behavior of a Praying Mantis, Tenodera aridifolia. The mantises will approach prey with a swaying body motion that resembles a swaying plant. They move more quickly and more frequently under windy conditions. On windy days, the motion of a mantis becomes less obvious because it mimics the swaying movements of the plants. Tenodera aridifolia, approaches prey more boldly and is more successful in capturing prey under windy conditions.

Praying Mantis With a Sulfur Butterfly

Praying Mantis With a Sulfur Butterfly


*Hiroshi Watanabe & Eizi Yano. Behavioral response of mantid Tenodera aridifolia to windy conditions as a cryptic approach strategy for approaching prey. Entomological Science 16: 40–46. January 2013
DOI: 10.1111/j.1479-8298.2012.00536.x

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

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