5 Lesser Known Facts About Mantis Shrimp

Mantis shrimp, often hailed as one of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures, are known for their vibrant colors and incredible hunting abilities. However, there are many lesser-known facts about these creatures that make them even more intriguing.

Complex Eyesight: Mantis shrimp have some of the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom. While humans have three color receptors, allowing us to see a range of colors, mantis shrimp have an incredible 16 color receptors. This means they can see colors beyond our imagination, including ultraviolet light, and have a perception of color that far exceeds our own.

Powerful Punch: Mantis shrimp are not only visually stunning but also incredibly strong. They possess one of the fastest and most powerful punches in the animal kingdom, capable of striking their prey with the speed of a .22 caliber bullet. This punch is so strong that it can break through the shells of snails, crabs, and even aquarium glass.

Superior Speed: Despite their name, mantis shrimp are not actually shrimp. They are stomatopods, a distinct group of marine crustaceans. These creatures can move at incredible speeds, with some species capable of reaching speeds of 23 meters per second (82 km/h or 51 mph) when striking their prey.

Unique Hunting Techniques: Mantis shrimp employ two main hunting techniques: smashing and spearing. Smashing mantis shrimp use their powerful front claws to deliver a devastating blow to their prey, while spearing mantis shrimp impale their prey with their sharp, barbed claws. Some species even use a combination of both techniques, making them highly efficient hunters.

Social Behavior: While mantis shrimp are often portrayed as solitary creatures, some species exhibit complex social behaviors. For example, the peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus) forms monogamous pairs and engages in elaborate courtship rituals. Additionally, some species have been observed exhibiting cooperative behavior, such as sharing burrows and defending territories.

Works Cited

  • Thoen, H. H., How, M. J., Chiou, T. H., & Marshall, N. J. (2014). A different form of color vision in mantis shrimp. Science, 343(6169), 411-413.
  • Patek, S. N., Korff, W. L., & Caldwell, R. L. (2004). Biomechanics: deadly strike mechanism of a mantis shrimp. Nature, 428(6985), 819-820.
  • Liao, J. C., & Patel, N. H. (2008). Two new species of Alachosquilla Manning, 1969 (Crustacea, Stomatopoda, Gonodactylidae) from the southwestern Indian Ocean, with comments on the establishment of Alachosquilla within the Gonodactylidae. Zootaxa, 1687(1), 41-55.

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