Mantis Shrimp

Mantis Shrimp Facts
Size 1-12 inch (3-30 cm)
Speed Unknown
Weight Unknown
Lifespan Unknown
Food Snails, shrimps, fish
Predators Fishes, octopuses
Habitat Tropical and subtropical oceans
Order Mantis shrimps
Family -
Scientific name Stomatopoda
Characteristics Can perceive ultraviolet light and infrared waves

The mantis shrimp is a solitary crustacean living in tropical oceans and hunting for snails, shrimps, mollusks, oysters and fish on the ground of the sea. The name of the mantis shrimp indicates that its claws somehow resemble the forelegs of the praying mantis.

How Do Mantis Shrimps Hunt?

Mantis shrimps fling their hammer-like claws at their prey at 75 ft/s (23 m/s). The impact is so strong that it can be compared to that of a pistol bullet. No other animal can move so quickly.

Mantis Shrimp Mantis Shrimp - Photo: worldswildlifewonders/Shutterstock

Mantis Shrimps Shoot Air Bubbles

Little air bubbles form in the water when a mantis shrimp flings its claw forward. They implode with a loud noise and thus stun or injure the prey animal. It is said that they can even break the glass walls of fish tanks. The pistol shrimp uses a similar method, by the way. 

Short explanation: Under water, things do not explode but implode. Why? An explosion always implies a quick increase in volume, because the pressure inside is higher than the pressure of the surrounding air. Water exerts a higher pressure on objects than air, so that the forces inside cannot expand and the object collapses inward into itself.

“Smashers“ and “Spearers“

Mantis shrimps are divided into two categories: the “smashers” that use their claws just like a hammer and the “spearers” that have spiny appendages with barbed tips.

Do Mantris Shrimps Have Hallucinations?

The world of the mantis shrimps is full of bright and shimmering colors. In addition to the colors we perceive, they are able to see ultraviolet colors, infrared waves * and the polarization ** of the light. Even if you have got a very vivid imagination, you will never be able to get an idea of the vast amount of colors mantis shrimps are capable to perceive.

* We can feel infrared waves in the form of heat energy.
** = indicates if the light waves are oscillating linearly, circularly, or ovally.

Mantis Shrimp Mantis Shrimp - Photo: John A. Anderson/Shutterstock

The Camouflage of Mantis Shrimps
Whoosh, I’ve Disappeared!

The little animals adapt to their surroundings. When moving about in green seaweed, they also change their color to green. On the sandy ground of the sea, they take on a light-brown color. The perfect camouflage!

Mantis Shrimp Mantis Shrimp - Photo: Stubblefield Photography/Shutterstock

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