20 Interesting Mantis Shrimp Facts – Part I

by Sankalan Baidya

One of Mother Nature’s most amazing creations is the Mantis Shrimp. Just like the Pistol Shrimp we learned about a long time ago, the mantis shrimp is equipped with some extraordinary features that help them to survive in the wilderness of the vast oceans. They have superpowers that humans can only dream of but down there on ocean and sea bed, these superpowers are no more that survival instruments without which, these creatures simply cannot survive. Let us learn 20 interesting mantis shrimp facts and find out what they are capable of.

Interesting Mantis Shrimp Facts: 1-10

1. Mantis shrimps are marine crustaceans that are known as stomatopods.

2. There are more than 450 documented species of mantis shrimp. They vary widely in color. Some can have brown shades while other can be of vivid color.

3. On an average, they grow up to the length of 3.9 inches or 10 centimeters. However, there are certain species that can grow as long as 15 inches or 38 centimeters.

4. Mantis shrimps are predators. Often in several locations, they turn out to be extremely important predators, responsible for maintaining ecological balance in the marine environment.

5. They are commonly found in shallow sub-tropical and tropical marine habitats but prefer spending most of their time in holes and burrows, making it extremely difficult for humans to study them.

6. These shrimps have been known by different names. For example, Australians call them prawn killers, ancient Assyrians used to call them as sea locusts. Today, many people refer to them as thumb splitters.

7. Though small, these creatures are pretty dangerous because in not handled properly, they are capable of inflicting severe pain using their powerful claws.

8. Their claws play a very important role. In fact, their claws are their primary hunting tools. They can use their claws for dismembering, stunning or spearing their prey.

9. The claws of some of the larger species of mantis shrimp are so powerful that they can actually break the glass of an aquarium using just one strike.

10. Based on the usage of their claws, these stomatopods are broadly categorized as ‘smashers’ and ‘spearers’.

Interesting Mantis Shrimp Facts: 11-20

11. Smashers are those species of mantis shrimp which have extremely powerful claws with highly developed club. They use their claws to smash their prey apart. They also have spears (tiny appendages) but they are very rudimentary in nature. These spears are still sharp enough but usually not used for hunting. They use it for fighting within themselves.

12. Spearers on the other hands have appendages that are spiny with barbed tips. In order to kill a prey, shrimps of this group will snag and stab their prey with their appendages.

13. Irrespective of whether a mantis shrimp is a smasher or a spearer, it will strike very rapidly. It will unfold and swing the raptorial claw towards the prey and in the process, inflict serious damage.

14. Because smashers have more developed claws, they attack with blinding quickness. So, exactly how fast are they? Smashers achieve an acceleration of 335,000 ft/s2 and a speed of 23 meters per second.

15. When the smashers strike with such great speed, they manage to create a cavitation bubble between their claws and the surface they are striking at.

16. During such a strike by a smasher, there are two different forces that act on the prey. First one is a force of 1,500 newtons directly on the body of the prey and then the implosion of the cavitation bubble which sends out a shockwave that kills or stuns the prey. Even if the first strike misses, the cavitation bubble implosion invariably succeeds.

17. This mode of attack by the smashers is very similar to that of Pistol Shrimps in almost every respect. The imploding cavitation bubble creates very high temperatures that can range well up to several thousand Kelvins.

18. Because of such high temperatures, the collapsing bubble produces sonoluminescence. Put in simple words, it produces light. However, the implosion is extremely short-lived and weak compared to the remaining environment. It is because of this, sonoluminescence cannot be seen with naked eyes. Only highly specialized equipment can detect it.

19. Scientists say that sonoluminescence really has no biological significance and is only a side-effect.

20. Smashers prefer to go for hardy prey like oysters, molluscs, crabs and snails because they prefer to smash their prey. The spearers on the other hand prefer to go for softer prey like fish so that they can easily slice and snag them.


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Haven October 11, 2016 - 8:07 pm

Wow. This article was truly astonishing. I have never felt like I knew Mantis Shrimp on a personal level, until now. Thank you for forever changing my world!

... February 1, 2018 - 1:50 am

ilove mantis shrimp.
search whythemantisshrimpismynewfavoriteanimaltheoatmeal to find out more info!

.Duke Fishron February 1, 2018 - 1:52 am

i love mantis shrimp.
search why the mantis shrimp is my new favorite animal the oatmeal to find out more info!

Chris August 14, 2018 - 1:15 pm



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