Scientists found that when they showed the mantises footage of 3D prey-like images, the insects actually reached out, attempting to strike the screen. But this same effect was not observed when 2D images were shown instead. This suggests that the mantises indeed have some form of depth perception, and can tell when things appear to be coming at them, instead of staying on a single plane.
“Despite their minute brains, mantises are sophisticated visual hunters. We can learn a lot by studying how they perceive the world,” Jenny Read, a vision science professor at Newcastle who led the study, said in a statement. “Better understanding of their simpler processing systems helps us understand how 3D vision evolved, and could lead to possible new algorithms for 3D depth perception in computers.”