Everyone agrees that some of the animals on this planet are beyond amazing. They are all unique in their own way… Mantis shrimp are lightning fast predators with the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom; humans only consist of 3 receptive rods in our eyes, which consist of green, red and blue, while mantis shrimp have 16 colour perceptive. Not only for this interesting fact, but mantis shrimp also receive photons, which mean they receive polarized light, this means that intertwined waves are turned into light which the humans eyes can’t see, so they see the world in an entire different way that any other animal on the planet. They range from 2 – 30 cm in length, depending on the sub species.
With striking coloured bodies, they are beautiful to look at, but would not want to come near one. Have you ever wondered why you have not seen one in an aquarium? It is because it’s been known that they have broken and cracked aquarium glass with their lighting speed reaction with their clubs. Mantis shrimp have 2 raptorial appendages in the front of its body, these clubs can accelerate to the same velocity as a bullet leaving a barrel of a .22 calibre rifle in less than 3000/s, with that speed the mantis shrimp can kill its prey with 1 500 Newton of force.
Mantis shrimp usually occur along the equator which means they live among shallow waters of Africa and as far as southern America. Most of them live in excavated burrows, either built self or stolen from other organism’s burrows. You can also find them in coral crevices or inhabitant rock.
Their diet varies from fish and invertebrates, they are fast, and efficient predators, the ‘spears’ or forelimbs of the mantis shrimp are extremely fast, they use numerous spines to capture many soft-bodied prey like fish and shrimp or crush hard shelled animals such as snails and clams.
During breeding, mantis shrimps have rituals, this includes that their bodies lights up with florescent colours, which match the wave length detected by the pigments of their eyes. Females are only fertile during a certain moon phase. When they come together to mate, sperm is transferred but females can store the sperm for some time before fertilizing the eggs. In their lifetime mantis shrimp can have between 20 and 30 breeding episodes. This amazing species only have one partner for up to 20 years, but some of them can be promiscuous.
Larva shrimp are planktonic and are just as dangerous as their parents, they too have the strong raptorial clubs and prey on other larvae.
Known predators of the mantis shrimp include trigger fish, puffer fish and octopus.
There are around 400 species that occur worldwide and in the suborder Unipeltata. They are commonly separated into 2 groups determined by the manner of their claws.
Mantis shrimp may be beautiful but this predator has also been called sea locusts, prawn killers and now more known as thumb splitters.
The surfaces of their appendages are composed of an extremely strong mesh work of extremely dense hydroxyapatite. The composition and structure of the material is currently being investigated for potential uses in body armor. Not surprising that they have super-strong bodies when you consider how hard they hit and how often they fight each other.
The shockwave produced by the strike is powerful enough to knock out the prey on its own, even if the strike misses.