Mantis Shrimp

Natures demon








Families-squillidae, Lyseosquillidae, Gonodactylidae, and Bathysquillidae




Most people think of shrimp as the small kind that you would buy at the fish market, not hostile or violent at all. However the mantis shrimp is unlike all other shrimp, whats the difference, its ability to kill. Mantis shrimp are unlike many other shrimp because they have one distinct difference, either a set of claws or clubs both deadly. Known also as thumb splitters and aquarium breakers, these shrimp have been described as very aggressive and violent killers. Despite their violent reputation mantis shrimp are also believed to be intelligent. This violent and intelligent reputation is credited to their numerous amount of tools that assist them in everything from finding shelter to splitting a crab straight in half.

Mantis shrimp have very advanced eyes, incredibly fast arms to club, cut, or spear, and a relatively large rear end.

Despite their resemblance to regular shrimp the mantis shrimp isn't actually a shrimp. mantis shrimp don't belong to the same order or superorder as shrimp. Mantis shrimp like all crustaceans belong to the subphylum Crustacea and the class Malacastraca however they split at the superorder which normal crustaceans belong to Decapoda but the mantis shrimp belongs to Hoplicarida. Due to this split of classification the mantis shrimp is most closely related to crustaceans and looks as if a lobster and praying mantis had a baby.

The habitat in which the mantis shrimp lives depends on the variant. The dull club handed variant also called smashers tend to live in rocky holes and caverns and will actually smash the rock to make additions to their homes. The spear or sharp clawed variant also known as spearers prefer to live in holes or burrows of softer material like sand or soil. The mantis shrimp is a carnivore so its diet consists of a numerous amount of crustaceans gastropods and mollusks, like crabs, shrimp, hermit crabs, clams, lobster, and even other mantis shrimp.

Mantis shrimp are actually quite fast, but the remarkable thing is their strike. Mantis shrimp, both the spearer and smasher variants, have an incredible ability to strike at an astonishing speed, their appendages can strike at a speed nearly equal to that of a .22 caliber bullet reaching 20 one-thousandths of a second. This gives them the ability to crack nearly any shell or body of the prey the are hunting. Mantis shrimp sizes depend on what family they are part of some of the largest can grow from 12-15 inches while the smaller kinds are grow only from 2-7 inches, so the weight depends greatly on the age, family, gender, and species. The same applies for mating and relationships but in a smaller manner.

While most families of the stomatopods will mate and then the female will lay her eggs in a burrow one family the family Lyseosquillidae have monogamous breeding in which the male stays with and protects its mate and eggs. The male and female will stay in the same burrow with the eggs but will do different things the female will tend to the eggs while the male hunts for food for the both of them and protects the burrow. However other than this mantis shrimp do not hunt for food in packs or groups and do not live in communities. However in terms of relationships with other Stomatopods they can recognize individuals they often meet or see through colors or smell, but they will still not create communities or families besides the family Lyseosquillidae. while it may seem as if the mantis shrimp doesn't have many predators, it still has a few which consists mainly of larger fish and octopi. The mantis shrimp is not currently endangered.

Male (top) and female (bottom) monogamous Stomotopods.

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Cool facts

  • amazing eyes. the stomatopods have incredible eyes that are considered to be the most advanced in nature that allow them to see in 12 different colors whereas humans can only see three, making it so they can see over 100,000 thousand color combinations compared to humans 10,000.
  • A smasher shrimps clubs are able to break such hard shells due to the speed which will actually cause water to move out of the way so fast that it will create cavitation bubbles that will collapse and cause a second shockwave to the object of target.
  • The cavitation bubbles created by the mantis shrimps punch will even create light and heat when collapsing.
  • The mantis shrimps limbs and body are so light yet strong, researchers are studying the cell structure for advanced body armor for combat troops.
  • Mantis shrimp are often held in aqueriums alone because they will kill all other animals in the tank as well as the potential for them to break the glass.
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Different variants of the Mantis Shrimp

Feeding a Mantis Shrimp a live Lionfish
Mantis Shrimp vs. Several Crustaceans (Crustacean Wars Clip Show)