10 Cool Things About The Mantis Shrimp

1.Superman of the ocean

The mantis shrimp has a very strong punch. Two very powerful front claws are used to punch prey with vicious force. In fact, their claws are so strong that the force they punch with is equal to over 150kg. The force that the mantis shrimp punches with is easily 2,500 times his own body weight. In human terms, that means that if we were able to punch with the same force, we would easily punch through steel.

2.Family man

Most of the mantis shrimp species choose one partner who they will stay with for the rest of their life. They will share the same tunnel, guard their eggs and help each

other to hunt for food. Their average lifespan is around 20 years. This means they will stay with the same partner for at least 20 years. Research shows that there is areason for this behaviour. The mantis shrimp chooses to stay with one partner because they do not want to venture into the ocean looking for a new partner each time. The ocean is a dangerous place with lots of predators. By choosing one partner they stay in their tunnel and happily live with their partner, knowing they are safe.

3.Looks can be deceiving

The mantis shrimp is very colourful and beautiful to look at. However, do not
be fooled by this colourful creature. Aquariums never keep mantis shrimps because they actually kill all the other sea creatures they share their tank with. The other problem is that their punch is so powerful that they can actually break the aquarium glass. If scientists ever want to study the mantis shrimp, they need to be kept in special tanks made of plastic that cannot be shattered by their punch.

4.What big eyes you have!

All creatures on earth have colour receptive cones, enabling the visualisation of colour. Dogs only have two – green and blue. Humans have three, namely green, blue and red. Red includes all the colours that can be derived from red, like orange. The mantis shrimp has an astonishing number of 16 colour receptive cones. He can see up to 10 times more colours than humans. The mantis shrimp can even see ultraviolet light. So, if the mantis shrimp had to see a rainbow, they would see a colour explosion of so many different colours, whereas humans only see the seven standard colours of the rainbow.

5.Is it a shrimp?

The mantis shrimp is neither mantis nor shrimp. He is actually a stomatopod, which means he is very distant family to crabs, shrimps and lobsters.

6.No need to be a sharpshooter

When the mantis shrimp punches, they punch with the same speed that a bullet is shot from a 22-calibre gun. Punching with such speed under water actually causes the bubbles around the mantis shrimp’s appendages to boil – this is called super cavitation. When these cavitation bubbles collapse, it creates a big shockwave that is strong enough to kill prey. So even if the mantis shrimp misses his prey, the shockwave created by the collapsed bubbles will still kill or incapacitate the prey.

7.Smasher or spearer?

The mantis shrimp can be classified into two broad categories, namely the smasher or the spearer. The smasher is equipped with two very powerful claws,
and they are used to punch and smash their prey. The spearer is equipped with more spine-like appendages. These appendages also have barbed tips. Smashers usually hunt prey like crabs or other shrimp that they
can smash and dismember, whereas spearers target fish or softer prey that they can stab. Both smashers and spearers use the same power and speed to kill their prey

8.Handle with care!

Mantis shrimp are well known as very aggressive predators. Fishermen have given them the name ‘thumb splitters’. The mantis shrimp should be handled with extreme caution – they might just punch your finger and cause substantial damage. There is obviously a very good reason why fishermen call them ‘thumb splitters’!

9.Not a social creature

You would think that a creature so beautiful
and so powerful would be roaming around the ocean floor, but the mantis shrimp prefers to stay in his tunnel and catch any prey that passes by. They rarely go out to hunt and will only hunt from their tunnel or very close by. Their reclusive behaviour makes it very difficult for scientist to study these very interesting creatures.

10.Dynamite comes in small packages

There are currently over 400 species of mantis shrimp found worldwide. This animal is not very big and on average will grow up to 10cm in length. The largest mantis shrimp ever found was 46cm and was caught in a river near Florida in the United States.

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