Mantis shrimps are marine crustaceans that branched from other members of the class Malacostraca around 340 million years ago. Mantis shrimps typically grow to around 10 cm (3.9 in) in length. A few can reach up to 38 cm (15 in). The biggest mantis shrimp ever caught had a length of 46 cm (18 in); it was discovered in the Indian River near Fort Pierce, Florida. The mantis shrimp’s carapace (the bony, thick shell that covers crustaceans and some other species) covers only the rear part of the head and the first four segments of the thorax. Varieties range in color from colors of brown to vivid colors, with more than 450 species of mantis shrimps being-known. They are amongst the most powerful predators in many shallow, tropical, and subtropical marine habitats. However, despite being common, they are poorly conceived, as many species spend most of their lives tucked away in tunnels and holes.
Sounds like just another drop in the Ocean, right?
Here are a few astonishing facts about the Mantis shrimps.
- The Punch: The mantis shrimp is famous for its punch. With a speed of 10 meters per second, their punch has the power of a .22 caliber bullet. Mantis Shrimps are renowned for their unbelievable strong punches that can break the glass of an aquarium. Most species of mantis shrimps are lonely creatures who enjoy space.
- Eyes: Mantis shrimp have the most complex eyes in the known world. Each eye comprises of a dozen photoreceptors that enable them to sense various types of color. Human eyes typically contain three kinds of light-sensitive cells for seeing red, blue, and green.
- Spearers and Smashers: All mantis shrimp species can be categorized into ‘spearers’ or ‘smashers’, based on the kinds of claws they have and tactics they use to annihilate the prey. Spearers have sharp appendages with deadly tips, that are used to stab soft-bodied prey, such as various types of worms. Smashers have more evolved club-like appendages that are used to blugeon and smash their prey to shreds.
- The Name: Mantis shrimps have acquired their unique name from their looks. They have a second pair of prey-catching arms that are considerably enlarged, like Mantises. They are shaped like the giant grasping forelimbs of the praying mantis insect, which catches prey.
- Shock Waves: Because they strike so swiftly, they create cavitation bubbles between the appendix and the striking surface. The collapse of these bubbles hits their prey in addition to the impact of the appendage against the striking surface. This means that the prey is hit twice by a single strike; first by the claw and then by the collapsing cavitation bubbles that instantly follow. Even if the first strike misses the prey, the resulting shock wave can be more than sufficient to kill or stun the prey.
- Loyal: Mantis shrimp species are monogamous, living with the same partner for up to 20 years. They live together in the same burrow, and both males and females take care of the eggs.