Home > Animals > Invertebrates > Mantis Shrimp

Mantis Shrimp



Category: Invertebrates



The mantis shrimp is not actually a shrimp, but a different kind of crustacean of the order Stomatopoda, known for its aggressiveness and formidable weaponry. It possesses extremely sharp, powerful claws that can split a human finger in two, with larger species of mantis shrimp able to break aquarium glass with a single strike! Mantis shrimp are voracious predators found in tropical and sub-tropical waters. 

But while the mantis shrimp’s claws understandably get much of the attention, their strength and capacity to cause damage at least fall within the realm of things we can perceive. We can see an injured thumb or shattered glass and understand what it means, but with their extraordinary eyes, the mantis shrimp may be capable of seeing colors we can’t even imagine!

Their compound eyes have 16 color receptive cones (compared to the 3 found in humans), and are capable of perceiving polarized light and multispectral images. Each eye is divided into three regions, giving each eye trinocular vision, meaning that even missing an eye, a mantis shrimp still has depth perception. And as if that isn’t enough, researchers recently discovered that mantis shrimp eyes can even see neurons firing and detect the reflections off of cancer cells!


Data & Facts

Scientific Classification
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Arthropoda
Class - Malacostraca
Order - Stomatopoda

Did you know?
Interesting Animal Facts

Body horror in the insect kingdom

Learning about animals, you can discover many fascinating, even beautiful facts, but there are also things that can give you nightmares! Enter the strepsiptera (“twisted-wing parasite”). The adult female has no limbs, wings, or mouth - she simply lives in and feeds off her host (typically a wasp). When it becomes time to mate, she protrudes part of her abdomen from between the plates of her host and uses mind control to get the wasp to fly off to nearby males. Sexually mature males have wings, and fly around for about five hours before dying - spending their entire short existence seeking out females to mate with. After the female is impregnated, her own young grow and consume her. And once there is nothing left to eat, they leave their host wasp, infiltrate the nursery, and latch on to a larvae to create their own “zombie wasp” host and continue the grisly cycle!

Learn more >>


NAIA - National Animal Interest Alliance Discover Animals is a web-based educational resource offered by the NAIA
To learn more about the NAIA or about other NAIA programs, visit us at www.NAIAOnline.org
if you would like to help, join or support the NAIA or any of its programs please click here >>