Beautiful and deadly—not typical descriptions for shrimps, right? But the mantis shrimp prefer to stand out from the shoals of shrimps. Being one of the most fearsome creatures of the deep, this brightly colored species has earned an incredible reputation.
Shrimps but not shrimps.
Mantis shrimps aren’t shrimps at all despite their namesake and puny stature—neither are they mantises. They’re distant relatives to lobsters, crabs, and shrimps—in the order Stomatopoda.
One punch is enough to kill their prey.
To pummel its prey like aquatic killer robots, the peacock mantis shrimp uses two appendages called dactyl clubs. At 50 mph, moving quicker than a .22-caliber bullet, their “fists” spring forth from their bodies—that heats the water surrounding them as hot as the sun’s surface. With 160 pounds of force, their preys are smashed through shells.
Their eyes are unparalleled.
They have the most complex eyes in the kingdom Animalia. The mantis shrimp’s eyes have 12 photoreceptors each allowing them to sense different types of color—human eyes just contain three types of light-sensitive cells so we can see red, blue, and green. Some to conclude that mantis shrimp see the world in a psychedelic rainbow of vibrant color.