An Opportunity to Contribute to Mantis Shrimp Research!

Written by on August 23, 2013 in Invertebrates, Other News
A very colorful mantis shrimp.

A very colorful mantis shrimp. Photo credit: PacificKlaus via photopin cc.

This mantis shrimp comic by The Oatmeal has made the rounds on the internet a few times by now. If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to because it will make you love (or be slightly scared of) mantis shrimp.

The mantis shrimp is not actually a mantis or a shrimp, but is actually in its own crustacean group and it has some pretty amazing features.

Mantis shrimp are known for their unique hunting method. The smashers use an enlarged arm, called the raptorial appendage, to punch their prey. They have the fastest punch in the animal kingdom–it’s so fast that it creates cavitation bubbles which can injure, stun and even kill the prey even if it isn’t directly hit by the raptorial appendage.

As if that’s not unique enough, mantis shrimp also have the most complex visual system that we know of. They have 16 color-receptive cones (compared to the three that humans have) so they live in a very colorful world. In addition to the light we can see, they can also see UV, infrared and polarized light and they can move each eye independently.

What we don’t know is what they do with this amazing visual system. Amanda Franklin, a PhD student at Tufts University, aims to find out.

Franklin recently launched her project on Microryza, a company that helps researchers fund their projects and provides the general public with a way to follow along and contribute directly to scientific research.

With the money that Franklin raises through Microryza, she will travel to the Smithsonian field station in Belize to study the communication system of tropical mantis shrimp in their natural environment. Learn more about Signaling in mantis shrimp here!

Mantis shrimp (Neogonodactylus curacaoensis). Photos courtesy of Amanda Franklin.

Mantis shrimp (Neogonodactylus curacaoensis). Photos courtesy of Amanda Franklin.

And if you need to be reminded how wild these creatures are, watch True Facts About the Mantis Shrimp:

If you’re interested in helping to fund the research, you can do so here.

Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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