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Mantis bat evasion



Mickey Rowe wrote:

>2) Find yourself a big praying mantis, get it to fly, and
[snip]
>successful maneuvers under this circumstance is to flare out its wing
>covers and curl up its abdomen in order to reduce lift and increase
>drag at the same time.[snip]

I tried this last night, but perhaps my keys are the wrong frequency; the
mantis looked attentively in their direction each time they were jingled
while it was perched, but showed no reaction to the sound while it was
flying.

[I got the information via David Yager, who studies mantis hearing
 (there's an article in the January 1993 issue of Natural History by
 David if you want more info -- I don't think the key trick is there,
 though).  David used a "bat gun" for his experiments.  It was a
 device that put out a lot of energy in ultrasound.  Mantises don't
 react to such stimulation when they're perched -- apparently if bats
 do go after them on the ground, they're safer if they stay put.  Most
 likely your mantis was reacting to the visual rather than the aural
 cue.  I've never done the key trick myself, but I gather that you have
 to jiggle them very hard since most of the energy they emit is at
 lower frequencies.  If you have a better way to generate ultrasound
 (like if you have a remote control from a TV made in the early 70's)
 you might want to try that instead.  -- MR ]

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