We tested the hypothesis that the mantid Hierodula patellifera (Serville) sways its body to mimic trembling leaves in the wind as an antipredator strategy. In the field, walking and bodyswaying behavior were observed more frequently when the wind blew harder; mantids began walking and swaying as wind velocity increased. In the laboratory, walking and swaying behavior were observed more frequently under windy than under windless conditions, and mantids walked and swayed more frequently when wind velocity was variable than under constant velocity conditions. The discovery rate of the prey mantids by predators was significantly lower on swaying leaves than on fixed leaves. Our results thus indicate that mantids responded actively to wind, and we suggest that walking and body-swaying behaviors are adaptive in reducing the risk of predation.
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Vol. 102 • No. 3