Scientists have discovered the mantid, preying on fish

© Photo : Rajesh PuttaswamaiahДревесный mantis eating fishScientists have discovered the mantid, preying on fish© Photo : Rajesh PuttaswamaiahПодпишись to daily updates RIA Science

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Biologists have found in India a very unusual population of the mantid who don’t hunt other insects, but on a much larger prey – fish swim close to the surface of rivers and lakes. Its description was presented in the Journal of Orthoptera Research.

«It seems that mantises are able to remember that the production of a particular type, especially one that can easily catch that helps them to survive and forces them to return to the «fishing spots». Subsequent monitoring will show whether this is so or not,» said Roberto Battiston (Roberto Battiston) from Museum of the valley of the Brenta (Italy).

Praying mantises are among some of the largest predatory insects that exist on Earth. They prey not only on invertebrates but also small lizards, frogs and birds.

These insects are particularly interesting because females can eat their Cavaliers during mating, stocking up on protein for their future offspring. The males of many species of mantids have developed complicated behavioral strategies, which with varying degrees of success to force the female to accept them as a marriage partner, and not the food.

Battiston and his colleagues discovered a group of mantid with a very unusual diet, while investigating a case about which they told one of the residents of Karnataka in India, who built a small garden and pond on the roof of his house.

The gardeners, as they note, attempted to breed fish-guppies and other animals in the pond, which he had previously decorated with water lilies and other plants, whose leaves covered the pond dense «carpet» of greenery.

After some time the owner of the pond noticed that in his garden he got quite a large wood mantis (Hierodula tenuidentata), the clock sitting on the surface of the leaves in the pond. After his appearance, the number of fish in the pond start to decline rapidly, as was discovered by the gardener, was due to the fact that the insect was deliberately caught and ate them.

He reported this to the authors of the article, and they spent the next five days, observing the behavior of invertebrate predators. Scientists initially doubted his claims – the eye of the mantid are not designed for «water hunting» and they are not familiar with the habits of guppies and other fish.

All this, as it turned out, did not prevent the mantis safely catch and eat fish. He enjoyed the fact that the surface of the pond was covered with Lily pads, on which it was convenient to lie in wait, guppy, and was waiting for a curious fish to come to the surface of the water, confusing the shadow mantis with a mosquito, a fly or other insect.

Five days of observations, the mantis managed to eat nine of the fish eating at the two inhabitants of the pond every night. As noted Battiston if other wood mantises behave this way near natural bodies of water, they can cause serious damage to their ecosystems and seriously affect the viability of fish populations.

In the near future, the researchers plan to start a new series of observations of Hierodula tenuidentata. They, as I hope naturalists, will help you understand whether mantises prey on fish purposefully as they are able to catch it and remember if they are like «fish places».