Mantis shrimp also known as stomatopods, are carnivorous marine crustaceans, branching from other members of the class Malacostraca around 340 million years ago. They typically grow to around 10 cm in length, while a few can reach up to 38 cm. So far more than 450 species of mantis shrimp have been discovered worldwide; all living species are in the suborder Unipeltata, which arose around 193 million years ago.
Don’t let their looks fool you—these beautiful Mantis Shrimps are ferocious undersea predators that hunt with clubbed forelimbs, walloping their quarry with one of the strongest pound-for-pound punches on the planet.
Mantis Shrimp Fun Facts
- The mantis shrimp can punch with the speed of a .22 caliber bullet—strong enough to break the shells of its prey.
- When they hit its prey, the velocity causes water to vaporize, then implode with a sharp bang, extremely high heat, and a flash of light—all of which is felt by the prey animal as an additional blow.
- When the striking limb of a mantis shrimp is not in use, it lies folded under the animal’s body, compressing a saddle-shaped spring that drives the animals stupendous strikes.
- Some species of mantis shrimp wield spear like limbs that can impale their targets, instead of club-like limbs for bashing them.
- Their super-strong punches aren’t the only notable thing about the mantis shrimp. The animal’s eyes can see a huge variety of light wavelengths, including those in the ultraviolet spectrum.
these shrimps live in burrows where they spend the majority of their time. Their two different categories ( first one is spearing and the other one is smashing ) — prefer different locations for burrowing. The spearing build their habitat in soft sediments and the smashing species make burrows in hard substrata.
These two habitats are better for their ecology since they use burrows as sites for retreat and as locations for consuming their prey. Burrows and coral cavities are also used as sites for mating and for keeping their eggs safe.
Their body size undergoes periodic growth which necessitates finding a new cavity or burrow that will fit the animal’s new diameter. Some spearing species can modify their pre-established habitat if the burrow is made of silt or mud, which can be expanded.