Considered to have the fastest punch of any animal, mantis shrimps are colorful ocean creatures that possess lethal weapons and byzantine sight.
Mantis Shrimp (Stomatopods) are crustaceans just like any other crabs, lobsters and shrimps but are undeniably one of the most impressive of all predators. These confusing little creatures got their name from the Praying Mantis (as it has a similar appearance to it) and the shrimp. They live in the Australian waters are divided into the smashers and spearers category. They are mostly 15 centimeters(6 inch) long, but some species are about 30 centimeters, as well. The peacock mantis shrimp that are considered to be the most beautiful of the mantis shrimp species are up to 1.5 feet(46 cm) in size. Their green color, blue eyes, colorful patterns on the body and tail, orange legs and leopard-like spots makes them distinct from other shrimps.
A mantis shrimp might not be a heavy creature, but can throw some of the fastest and most powerful punches in nature – devastating to even the hardest snails. The speed of the punch delivered is some 50 mph(80 km/h). Their strike is so fast that even water can be vaporized at the point of impact, causing a small implosion. The peacock mantis shrimp is known for its powerful strike which can go to a speed of up to 33 feet per second(10 m/s or 36 km/h). It is astonishing that this can produce a force nearing that of a bullet fired from a .22-caliber weapon. How the shrimp generates the force to do this has baffled scientists for years.
The mantis shrimp are incredible creatures and are extremely aggressive in nature, especially when it comes to the defense of their homes. However, it is said that the most complex behavior is demonstrated by those that move into preformed holes in rock or coral. This is also seen in their copulation patterns, courtship and parental duties. They mostly occupy burrows, crevices and cavities. These attractive marine crustaceans come in a variety of colors from brown and bright to neon. They also have the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom. Yes, you read it right! They have eyes situated on the stalks and move independent of one another. Their eyes are believed to have 16 different types of photoreceptors (while the humans have only 3!). They are the only animals to have hyperspectral color vision. The shape of their eyes allows them to see various things with the three different parts of the eye and that too, all at once! It spots its prey with its 2 eyes that have 3 focal points each and so many light sensitive cells that they can see in the ultraviolet and infrared.
When recorded in a slow motion camera, the punch of this deep sea creature impacts a staggering 60 kilograms of force – not so much a punch as a hammer blow. This enormous impact is all due to the sheer speed of the strike – game over in a thousandth of a second! The speed comes from compressing the central part of the body and storing energy which is released in its explosive punch – with the acceleration of a bullet. The camera also revealed another phenomenal event – flashes of light. Moments before impact, the pressure weighed in front of the claw causes the water to boil. The steam immediately implodes generating light, heat and possibly adding to the destructive force.
The mantis shrimp are carnivores and their major diet includes a range of fish and invertebrates. They like to have an active prey and are uninterested in any frozen cubes or eating pellets. When it comes to reproduction mantis shrimp usually mate, spawn and brood to hatch their eggs within their burrow. It is recommended to keep them in acrylic glass rather than any glass aquarium. If you are an aquarium enthusiast, then the bright colors and active behavior of the peacock mantis shrimp will also force you to have them as your tank’s solitary occupant.