Making A Splash With Mantis Shrimp

Most of us are familiar with the unique praying mantis. But what might it look like if you took the calculating, cut-throat mentality of a mantis and paired it with the physicality of a sea shrimp? More than likely, you'd be dealing with a mantis shrimp, a very real species of shrimp that is a serious force to be reckoned with. Take for example the shrimp's two front appendages: these tiny claws can come at an opponent with the same ferocity as a 22 caliber rifle in less than three-thousandths of a second. This means that if humans had even a fraction of this ability, we could throw a baseball into space.

In fact, these intense creatures date back as far as 5 million years and account for more than 400 different varieties. Check out this playlist to learn how mantis shrimp can detect cancer, ward off predators and grow into some of the largest underwater shrimp you've seen yet.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Humans' eyes are able to detect 4 different visual pigments within the visible spectrum, while mantis shrimp can detect up to 16. 00:49

  2. Mantis shrimp can see polarized light in a similar way to how humans see and use color. 01:42

  3. Doctors are developing early detection tools modeled after the components of mantis shrimp eyes. 02:04

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The pistol and mantis shrimp are able to create light by snapping their claws together underwater. 00:01

  2. Turning sound into light is called sonoluminescence. 00:50

  3. Despite being able to recreate the flash in labs, scientists still don't fully understand sonoluminescence. 01:23

Written by Curiosity Staff December 15, 2014

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