Frederick Prete

Lecturer in Biology



1995–1996   Post-doctoral Research, University of Chicago
1992             PhD, University of Chicago
1985             BA, University of Illinois at Chicago

Selected Publications


Prete, F.R. (ed.) (2004) Complex Worlds from Simpler Nervous Systems. Cambridge: MIT Press

Prete, F.R., H. Wells, P. Wells, and L.E. Hurd (eds.) (1999) The Praying Mantids. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press


In the Mind of a Hunter: The Visual World of the Praying Mantis (with K. Kral). In FR Prete (ed.), Complex Worlds from Simpler Nervous Systems, Cambridge: MIT Press, pp. 75-115.

How Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern Writings Shaped Contemporary Questions About Mantid Prey Capture (with H. Wells, and P. Wells). In The Praying Mantids (Prete, et al., eds.) Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 3-18.           

Prey Recognition. In The Praying Mantids (Prete, et al., eds.) Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 141-179.

Prey Capture (with K. Hamilton). In The Praying Mantids (Prete, et al., eds.) Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, pp. 194-223.

Rearing Techniques, Developmental Time, and Life Span Data for Lab-Reared Sphodromantis lineola. In The Praying Mantids (F.R. Prete, et al., eds.) Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, pp. 303-310.

Designing Behavior: A Case Study. In Perspectives in Ethology, Vol. 11 (N. Thompson, ed.) New York: Plenum Press, 1995, pp. 255-277.


Selected Articles

Prete, FR, et al., (2019). The first analysis of discontinuous ventilatory abdominal pulsations in praying mantises. Fragmenta Entomologica, 51: 29-39 (2019). doi:10.4081/fe.2019.332

Schirmer A, Prete FR, et al., (2014) Circadian rhythms affect electroretinogram, compound eye color, striking behavior and locomotion of the praying mantis Hierodula patellifera. Journal of Experimental Biology, 217: 3853-3861

Prete FR, Theis R, Dominguez S, Bogue W (2013) Visual Stimuli Eliciting Tracking and Striking in the Praying Mantises, Parasphendale affinis (Giglio-Tos), Popa spurca (Stål), and Sphodromantis lineola (Burmeister). Journal of Experimental Biology, 216: 4443-53. doi:10.1242/jeb.089474

Popkiewicz B, Prete FR (2013) Macroscopic Characteristics of the Praying Mantis Electroretinogram, Journal of Insect Physiology, 59: 812–823

Prete FR, Dominguez S, Komito JL, Theis R, Dominguez JM, Hurd LE, Svenson GJ, (2013) Differences in Appetitive Responses to Computer-Generated Visual Stimuli by Female Rhombodera basalis, Deroplatys lobata, Hierodula membranacea, and Miomantis sp. (Insecta: Mantodea), Journal of Insect Behavior, 26: 261-282

Prete FR, Theis R, Komito JL, Dominguez JM, Dominguez S, Svenson GJ, Wieland F (2012) Visual Stimuli that Elicit Visual Tracking, Approaching and Striking Behavior from an Unusual Praying Mantis, Euchomenella macrops (Insecta: Mantodea). Journal of Insect Physiology, 58: 648-659

Prete FR, Komito JL, Domínguez S, Svenson G, López YL, Guillen A, Bogdanivich N (2011) Prey Recognition in Three Morphologically Distinct Species of Praying Mantis, Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 197: 877-894

Belpedio C, Buffington L, Clusman S, Prete FR, Sadler A, Whittemore L, Mungre S (2010) Effect of multidog play-groups on cortisol levels and behavior of dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) housed in a humane society. Journal of Applied Companion Animal Behavior, 4:15-27

Prete, FR (2007) Complex Learning in Arthropods. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 19: IV-VI

Prete FR (2007) Living with Animals: Honey Bee Society and Humans. In Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships (M. Bekoff, ed.) Phoenix, Arizona: Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 1128-1133.

Prete FR (2007) Anthropomorphism: The myth of “Sexual cannibalism” by the praying mantis. In Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships (M. Bekoff, ed.) Phoenix, Arizona: Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 68-71

Hurd LE, Prete FR, Jones T, Portman R, Singh TB, Co JE (2004) The first identification, synthesis and behavioral test of a mantid pheromone. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 30: 155-166

Prete FR (2004) The predatory behavior of praying mantids. In The Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior (M. Bekoff, ed.) Phoenix, Arizona: Greenwood Publishing Group, pp. 851-857.

Prete FR, Hurd LE, Branstrator D, Johnson A (2002), Responses to computer generated visual stimuli by the male praying mantis, Sphodromantis lineola (Burmeister). Animal Behaviour, 63: 503-510

Gonka, MD, Laurie TJ, Prete FR (1999) Responses of movement sensitive descending visual interneurons to prey-like stimuli in the praying mantis, Sphodromantis lineola (Burmeister). Brain, Behavior and Evolution, 54: 243-262

Bullaro M, Prete FR (1999) The Thoracic and Prothoracic Leg Neuromuscular System of the Praying Mantid, Sphodromantis lineola (Burmeister). The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 409: 325-338

Chan, WP, Prete FR, Dickinson MH (1998) A visually guided motor-controlled gyroscope in flies. Science, 280: 289-292

Selected Presentations

2019     NEIU 10th Annual Faculty Research and Creative Activities Symposium (Nov 15)

  • Helping Blind and Visually Impaired Children to Feel the World Around Them: My Life Comes Full Circle

2018     NEIU 9th Annual Faculty Research and Creative Activities Symposium (Nov 16)

  • 25 Years of Battling Academic Hegemony, Gender Stereotypes and Political Power: Deconstructing the Mantis Visual System in the Service of Helping Children

2018     10th Annual NEIU SCSE Research Symposium (21 Sept)

  • Responses to Headband Mounted ERM Haptic Actuators Driven by the Drv2605 Integrated Circuit Library with Lόpez-Martinez
  • Cellular Organization of the Brain and Thoracic Ganglia of the Praying Mantis with Zeka

2018     American Society of Safety Engineers Annual Conference San Antonio TX (invited) (2 Jun)

  • Think Outside the Box – Design and Deploy a Dynamic Safety Training Strategy with SD Kemerer, T Mortenson

2017     University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana, Department of Entomology, (invited) (4 Dec)

  • How I Figured Out That Mantises Are As Smart As You Are: From Psychology to Cells

2017     University of Wisconsin Madison, Department of Zoology, (invited) (Nov 9)

  • From Cognitive Psychology to Interneurons: How Praying Mantises Construct the Abstract Category, "Prey”

2017     Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago (invited) (14 Jun)

  • Solving the Puzzles of the Brain

2017     University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (invited) (7 Apr)

  • From Cognitive Psychology to Potassium Channels: figuring out how praying mantises recognize prey

2016     Washington & Lee University, Dept. of Biology, (invited), Lexington VA (31 Mar & 01 Apr)

  • If You Want Students to Learn Science and Math, Teach them Like You Teach Sports
  • Understanding How Praying Mantises Recognize Prey: From Cognitive Psychology and Ecology to Potassium Channels

2015     Sapienza – Università di Roma (invited), Rome, Italy (25 Nov)

  • How Praying Mantises Recognize Prey: Merging Ecology, Psychology, and Neurobiology
  • TEDx, NEIU, Chicago IL (09 Oct)
  • If You Want Students to Learn Science and Math, Teach them Like You Teach Sports...

2015     Society for Neuroscience Annual Conference, Chicago, IL (17-21 Oct)

  • The circadian modulation of physiology in the praying mantis: A novel insect model system with A.E. Schirmer, E.S. Mantes, W. Bogue, A.F. Urdiales, S.A. Patel, C.Carion, G. Prete, V.M. Skital

2014     TEDxNEIU, NEIU, Chicago, IL

  • Seeing what’s in the world: Why praying mantises are as smart as you are

2014     European Congress of Entomology (invited), York, England

  • Intraspecific and interspecific length variation in mantids: consequences for prey size and predatory strike rates with Mike Maxwell