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Keywords:

  • anti-prey strategy;
  • approach behavior;
  • body swaying behavior;
  • crypsis;
  • foraging;
  • windless condition;
  • windy conditions

Abstract

Crypsis can be either defensive or aggressive in function, and the first evidence that crypsis reduces the probability of being detected by a predator was collected almost a century ago. Crypsis in mantids may reduce the probability that a mantid will be detected by its prey, but no experiments have been carried out to test this idea. We tested the hypothesis that the approach strategy of the mantid Tenodera aridifolia (Stoll) toward prey when the wind is blowing is adaptive. Significantly less time elapsed between the discovery of the prey by the predator and capture action under windy conditions than under windless conditions. Approach behaviors (walking and body swaying) were observed more frequently under windy than under windless conditions. When the wind stopped, mantids became still, and they changed their behavior in response to alternately changing wind conditions. Moreover, the discovery rate of the predator mantids by conspecific prey mantids was significantly lower on swaying leaves than on fixed leaves. The capturing rate of the prey by the mantid was significantly higher under windy conditions than under windless conditions. We suggest that the strategy of approaching prey quickly when the wind blowing is adaptive for reducing the risk of discovery and escape by the prey.