Mantis Shrimp

Peacock Mantis Shrimp

Odontodactylus scyllarus

DID YOU KNOW?

This crustacean can punch with a speed equal to a bullet.

Location and exhibit:
Baltimore, MD — Surviving Through Adaptation

Mantis Shrimp Mantis Shrimp Mantis Shrimp Mantis Shrimp

Peacock Mantis Shrimp

Found in the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the peacock mantis shrimp is arguably one of the most captivating creatures in the sea. Its hard-shelled body is bursting with color—hues of bright red, green, orange and blue, and its forearms are covered in spots. At the top of its head rests a set of protruding eyes, and they aren’t just for show.

These crustaceans have the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom, containing millions of light-sensitive cells. With 16 color-receptive cones (compared to humans, who have just three), the peacock mantis shrimp can detect ten times more color than a human, including ultraviolet light. It can move each eye independently and uses this exceptional eyesight to avoid predators and track down prey.

The peacock mantis shrimp lives in the crevices of coral and rocks on the ocean floor. A territorial creature, it has been known to exhibit aggressive behavior toward intruders. This ferocious shrimp has club-like appendages that fold beneath its body, resembling a praying mantis.

With a spring-like motion, it uses these appendages to attack prey—and a mantis shrimp’s punch is no joke. With the ability to strike at the speed of a .22 caliber bullet (50 times faster than the blink of an eye), a blow from a mantis shrimp can easily break through the shell of a crab or mollusk.


Mantis Shrimp Infographic 

Mantis Shrimp Infographic Preview
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Its lineage can be traced back five hundred million years.

It is multicolored with shades of bright green, orange, red and blue on its shell and forearms covered in spots.

There are 400 species of mantis shrimp worldwide.

A peacock mantis shrimp can punch with a speed equal to a .22 caliber bullet.

It is able to see ten times more color than human beings, including ultraviolet light.




Peacock Mantis Shrimp Facts

Diet

The peacock mantis shrimp can kill prey larger than itself by using its deadly appendages. It typically feeds on gastropods, crabs and mollusks.

Size

Mantis shrimp typically grow to lengths of two to seven inches.

Range

This species is found in the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Population Status

This species is not threatened.

Predators

Some large fish make a meal of the mantis shrimp.

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