The Effect of Background Color on the Efficiency of Prey Capture in the Chinese Praying Mantid

Praying mantid vision has a substantial impact on their predatory ability and success in the wild. Therefore it is important to study their predatory behavior and adaptations to determine how they function in nature and the ecosystems they inhabit. The purpose of experimentation was to investigate the mantid visual system by attempting to determine whether the amount of time until prey capture was affected when flies were caught on a black background, on which they blended, or a white background, on which they stood out. To do this, individual Chinese praying mantids (Tenodera aridifolia sinensis) were placed in a box with either a black or white background. After an acclimation period flies were introduced and allowed to move randomly. The time until the first successful prey capture was measured and recorded. From analysis of the resulting data, a p-value of 2.9141*10-8 was found meaning that the data was significant at the 99% confidence level. In other words, it took the mantids a significantly longer period of time to capture flies in the black box than in the white box and that it was unlikely that these results were due to chance variation. From this it is possible to infer that because it took mantids a longer time to capture flies in the black box it was more difficult for them. These findings can be supported with available research on the topic.

Research Done By:

Morgan Thompson
South Lake High School