The Amazing Mantis ShrimpRead Now
Featured in this video is a specimen of the peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus) filmed at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Mantis shrimps, which are neither mantises nor shrimps, are a type of crustacean called stomatopods. They are mostly famous for their hard hitting club-like appendages which can shatter the carapace of crabs or crack seashells, and even shatter the glass of aquarium tanks. But mantis shrimps are also remarkable for their capacity to detect ultraviolet light, which humans being lack. In fact, these crustaceans have a total of six distinct structures in their eyes which allow them to discriminate between several wavelengths in the ultraviolet range. To imagine what this would look like check my post on color coded thermal imaging where different wavelengths of light in the infrared range are assigned a color to allow the discrimination between different levels of heat radiance. What features of the marine environment or its inhabitants do these organisms perceive that require such discrimination remains a mystery.