What is a mantis shrimp?
Only the coolest animal to ever exist in the freaking ocean. The mantis shrimp is a crustacean that lives in shallow water and can grow to typically be as long as six to twelve inches long. This little guy is one of the most fascinating creatures to ever exist though, and one that can certainly pack a punch.
Why it’s Unique
This animal is extremely advanced, even compared to us humans. To begin we will examine the mantis shrimp’s vision. The human eye has a mere three different color receptors. Together, these three receptors can gather the entire range of the rainbow. However, the mantis shrimp has an astounding 16 color receptors. This insane amount of receptors allows this shrimp to collect the light of different colors and images we can’t even fathom. Perhaps this wide range of colors the little guy can detects pays part to why they are so beautiful and magnificent to look at. This beauty that they have on the outside perfectly leads me to my next point. Though they may look appealing, the mantis shrimp is one that is not, and should not be messed with by any means. As a defense mechanism, the mantis shrimp has two raptoral appendages that are tucked away under it’s body, and are extended with acceleration and velocity that simulate a gun shot from a twenty-two caliber rifle (theoatmeal.com). This is no joke. Below is a video of a mantis shrimp absolutely annihilating the outer shell of a clam with these appendages.
Not only is the pure speed of the attack impressive, what goes into the science behind it is even more impressive. The body parts of the mantis shrimp move so quickly that super-cavitation occurs. This means that the speed moves so quickly that the water around them actually becomes so hot it goes into a boil. When these cavitation bubbles then begin to disappear a shockwave is created through the force used. The force of these collapsing bubbles can get to temperatures of several kelvins of heat that creates an actual emission of light and sparks upon impact (theoatmeal.com). This can be seen in the video I posted above when the mantis shrimp dismembers a poor clam.
The mantis shrimp is a pure phenomena of nature. If a small innocent looking shrimp that can spectacularly receive more than 5 times the color that we can doesn’t impress you enough, the fact that this little guy can produce a defensive mechanism that goes the speed of a bullet and can create an actual shockwave definitely will. The mantis shrimp is an animal of the sea that still has many different questions left surrounding it, but is an animal that is purely a fascinating work of art.