10 Colorful Facts About Mantis Shrimp
“Beautiful” and “deadly” are two terms you don’t usually see associated with shrimp. Facts About Mantis Shrimp, however, is a class of its own.
The colorful creature has gained the reputation of one of the most frightening creatures in the deep. Here are ten things that you should know about tiny bruisers.
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Facts About Mantis Shrimp
- Mantis shrimp aren’t shrimp.
Despite their name and tiny size, mantis shrimp don’t look like shrimp. (Neither are they. Is it the case with mantises.) They’re stomatopods—distant cousins to shrimp, crabs, and lobsters.
- They are a potent punch.
The peacock mantis squid ( Odontodactylus scyllarus) uses two appendages, dubbed Dactyl club, to pound prey, much like the aquatic Rock them Sock robots if children’s toys were able to punch quickly enough to bring water to a boil and break fingers and bone. The wrecking ball “fists” spring forth from their bodies at speeds of 50 miles per hour and faster than the speed of a .22-caliber gun. At this speed, the water that surrounds them can reach an altitude of the sun’s surface. If the dactyl clubs reach their target, they release an incredible force of 160 pounds crushing through shells with an incredibly fast crab mallet.
- There is a myriad of varieties of mantis shrimp.
Mantis shrimp are found in many species. We’re aware of around 500 from them. Stomatopods in different species range in size, ranging from less than an inch to larger than an inch. Their killing methods typically classify them as smashing, as described in the previous paragraph, or spearing. Instead of dactyl, club spearers sport two sharp appendages on the body’s front designed to trap prey. Mantis shrimp spear-wielding aren’t as agile as their counterparts with club-fisted fingers (their strikes are around 10 % slower). However, the danger of being killed by impalement is enough to make them fearful by itself.
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- Their vision is unique.
Peacock mantis shrimp possess the most intricate collection of eyes found in animals. The eyes contain 12 photoreceptors that allow the eye to perceive different colors. For example, human eyes are typically comprised of three kinds of light-sensitive cells that can detect blue, red, and green. It has led some to conclude that mantis fish see the world as a psychedelic spectrum of hues that we are unable to be able to comprehend. However, in reality, mantis shrimp are more adept at discerning subtle hue variations than humans are.
The study by The University of Queensland found that when mantis shrimp were presented with different colors that differed in the wavelength of smaller than 25 nanometers, they were unable to tell the two. However, just because mantis shrimp don’t be able to distinguish the differences between the periwinkle and blue powder does not mean their vision isn’t exceptional. Their optical abilities are at a distinct level from ours, operating as a satellite that anything else found in nature. Researchers believe mantis shrimp absorb every bit of information they observe into their brains in one go without processing it, which allows them to be able to respond to their environment as swiftly as possible. Their eyes that can move independently and trinocular vision make them great hunters.
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- They speak a different language.
Alongside the amazing abilities mentioned above, mantis shrimps are among the few creatures that can see Polarized light. This allows the shrimp to discover a special code undetectable by other species. It’s called Haptosquilla trispinosa mantis shrimp and has feathery feeding maxillipeds adorned with iridescent blue spots. These cells’ spots reflect light in a distinctive method. Instead of reflecting light through a reflective structure similar to human polarizing cells, The cells spread light over the spot’s surface. The bright light is visible to mantis shrimps, allowing them to alert other species members and remain safe from predators.
- You won’t find mantis shrimp in most aquariums.
A mantis’s glossy exterior will likely make it a mainstay at aquariums. However, the mantis shrimp isn’t often kept in the wild. The same dactyl club that enables them to smash shellfish can also be used for damaging glass tanks. If aquariums allow a vicious specimen into their collections, the specimen should be placed behind shatterproof acrylic. In addition, the mantis shrimp kept in captivity must be the only resident of its own specially-designed home so that it doesn’t treat its tankmates as punching bags.
- They make menacing noises.
It’s normal for such a beast as powerful as the stomatopod could have an alarming sound to fight. California mantis shrimp are recognized for their low, loud growls that can be heard in the wild and laboratory. Male mantis shrimp typically emit grunts in the morning and at dusk, during the periods of the daylight hours when they’re likely to hunt for food or protect their home. Scientists believe that the growls are designed to attract their friends and deter competitors.
- Mantis shrimp can help scientists develop more effective body armor.
Mantis shrimp’s powerful punching capabilities bring up the perplexing question What is the best way to let the creature strike this devastating strike without injuring its own body? To find the root of this puzzle, scientists examined the chemical composition of the peacock mantis’s arsenal of weapons. They discovered that the dactyl club of the creature comprised an outer layer of hydroxyapatite, a tough crystal-like calcium-phosphate-based ceramic. Below the surface lies the key ingredient in the animal’s anti-fracturing capabilities. The layers of chitin, a polysaccharide material, underneath the shell are placed to act like shock absorbers decreasing the risk of cracks. It is efficient that researchers have designed a carbon fiber following it, with potential applications for aircraft panels and body armor for military personnel.
- They practice monogamy in a social setting.
Mantis’s life as a shrimp isn’t all bloody killing. Certain species of stomatopods are well-known to be engaged in the unusual habit of social monogamy, which is unique among crustaceans. Mantis shrimp pick a partner with whom to share food or shelter and create offspring for the course duration.
While it may sound romantic, it can serve a practical use for mantis shrimp. Research has proven that some mantis shrimp are more likely to form clusters outside of reefs rather than living within the middle of the activity. There is no need to seek a new partner to get married to regularly. Mantis shrimp couples can live a fairly comfortable, safe lifestyle and remain away from predators.
- They’re much older than dinosaurs.
Stomatopods evolved independently of other crustaceans about four hundred million years ago. This was around one hundred million years before dinosaurs first appeared. They’ve since followed an exclusive, evolutionary lineage, resulting in some of their most distinctive characteristics. Their biological makeup is so unique that scientists have given them ” shrimp from Mars.”