Too cool, part 15: Welcome our mantis shrimp overlords

I have been watching the development of the local praying mantises with interest, but this variety of ‘mantis’ is something else entirely. While at least one variety of these could supposedly be found in Florida when I was there, I never did locate one, which is perhaps for the better. But this means I have no image to use here, and will instead send you over to Not Exactly Rocket Science for Yong’s post on the weapon of the mantis shrimp.

While there, of course, you will also check out the related posts on the eyes of a mantis shrimp, and more on the eyes of a mantis shrimp, and the speed of a mantis shrimp. Let’s face it – they are our superior in every way.

Well, except for taste, since their color scheme looks like what happened when the animators for Yellow Submarine lost their inhibitions. The photos Ed Yong used for those posts don’t give you as good an idea of their overall appearance as this video does, however, which also demonstrates their abilities pretty distinctly:

Granted, I have a personal liking for the shy pistol shrimp, but I have to yield to the awesome power and exuberance of the mantis. This video shows more of their hunting prowess, including against my other buddies, the grass shrimp. For scale, know that grass shrimp are usually 2-3 cm long, though this video represents only one variety of mantis shrimp that range in size significantly.

I also feel obligated to point out, not that anyone should need the warning, that my introduction to the species came when I was researching photo needs for a potential client, and found the story of the diver that needed to have his finger amputated after an encounter. So um, yeah, cool as they are, put one in your aquarium at your own risk.

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