September 2018
Volume 18, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2018
The limits of apparent motion perception in the praying mantis
Author Affiliations
  • Jenny Read
    Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University
  • Lisa Jones
    Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University
  • Candy Rowe
    Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University
  • Claire Rind
    Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University
  • Vivek Nityananda
    Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University
  • Ghaith Tarawneh
    Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University
Journal of Vision September 2018, Vol.18, 349. doi:
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      Jenny Read, Lisa Jones, Candy Rowe, Claire Rind, Vivek Nityananda, Ghaith Tarawneh; The limits of apparent motion perception in the praying mantis. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):349. doi:

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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When a visual pattern is displaced in small jumps, if the jumps are small and close enough in time, we perceive the pattern as moving smoothly. As the jumps become larger, the apparent motion becomes choppy, until eventually, beyond the maximum displacement "Dmax", we cannot distinguish the direction of motion at all [1]. In humans, Dmax increases with the size of the pattern elements [2]. We repeated this experiment in the praying mantis, varying the size and jump interval so as to keep the mean speed constant at 12.5cm/s. The stimulus was a random chequerboard with 100% contrast, filling a CRT screen 7cm in front of the insect; the elements are the chequer squares. For small displacements, stimuli reliably elicited an optomotor response: the mantis moved in the direction of the displacement. As the displacement increased, the probability of an optomotor response fell to zero. We defined Dmax for a given element size as the displacement which elicited an optomotor response on 50% of trials. We found that in the praying mantis as in humans, the plot of Dmax against element size is a straight line on log axes. In mantises, Dmax increases roughly as the square root of element size. In humans, Dmax tends to become independent of element size for the smallest elements. This is believed to reflect the scale of spatial filtering before motion extraction [2]. In mantises, no such limit is observed: Dmax continues to decrease with element size down to the smallest values tested. We suggest this is because insect vision does not have a separate stage of spatial filtering which precedes motion extraction; rather, motion detection occurs at the earliest stages of insect vision. 1. Braddick (1974). Vision Research 14, 519-527 2. Morgan (1992). Nature 355 344-346

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018


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