Tag Archives: Mantis Shrimp

A Little Bit of  “Light” Reading

Have you ever wondered how we see the light and the world around us? Depending on where you are in the world half of the day is most likely spent illuminated by the sun. Most life on earth is dependent on light or the ability to see. So what exactly is light?

To put it in the absolute simplest way possible, light is a form of electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic radiation exists in the form of waves and is measured by its wavelengths and classified by frequencies. Different wavelengths result in different forms of electromagnetic radiation.

Light wave

The spectrum of electromagnetic radiation from longest wavelength to shortest is Radio waves, Microwaves, Infrared, Ultraviolet, X-Rays, and Gamma Rays. Between Infrared and Ultraviolet frequencies exists the wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation that are visible to the human eye. 


Out of all the different frequencies that exist, why did we adapt to seeing these frequencies? The most likely reason is that these frequencies are the most abundant ones produced by the sun that actually reach planet earth. Plants and animals simply grew to what they had available.


Because colors that we see are just different frequencies of ERM, does that mean that there are colors we can’t see? The answer is yes. Human beings only have three types of color receptors in our eyes. We have color receptors for reds and greens, blues and yellows, and black and white. Some animals have many more like the mantis shrimp. The mantis shrimp has a whopping 16 different color receptors. There’s no way to know what exactly the world would look like through the eyes of a mantis shrimp but it can be fun to imagine.

Odontodactylus Scyllarus

Written by: Adam Robinson

For more information visit https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/light_travel.html or https://cimioutdoored.org/light-2


The Mantis from Atlantis

Hi there! It’s me, your local friendly Mantis Shrimp, also known as the Stomatopod. I’m guest blogging for CIMI this week to set a few things straight. First of all, I’m not actually particularly friendly. I have a mean reputation for dismembering my prey – namely any octopus, snail, fish, or human thumb that comes my way – with a powerful one-two punch from my giant club claw or a hairy spear appendage, followed by a shockwave of boiling water that’ll stun you even if I miss. But I digress. My 450 family members live all over the Pacific and Indian oceans, in shallow, tropical waters. But we’re a little obscure, since, you know, living in the shadows of deep hidden rock crevices you’ll never dare to investigate, so I figured it’s time you humans saw the world through my eyes.

Speaking of eyes, I have the most developed visual system yet discovered in the animal kingdom. In your eyes, you’ve got two different types of cells that help you see: rods and cones. Rods are located around the edges of your retina, and help you see contrast, brightness, black and white, and movement. Cones, on the other hand, help you see color.

You measly humans have three types of cone cells in your retina: red-sensitive cone cells, green-sensitive, and blue-sensitive. That’s one step up from dogs and cats, I suppose, who lack the red cone and therefore can only see shades of blue and green. Your red-sensitive cone allows you to see not only red, but orange, yellow, and purple. Butterflies have five types of cones in their complex compound eyes, affording them almost the best color vision out there. This allows them to see into the ultraviolet spectrum, and recognize which plants to pollenate.

I don’t like to brag, but I’ve got 16 cones. 16! That means, to imagine seeing the world the way I see it, you’ve got to imagine a color you’ve never seen before, don’t have a name for, and can’t comprehend. Then imagine all the colors derived from that color. Then do that again. Then do that ten more times. Yeah. Some scientists theorize that my excellent color vision is for communication with my fellow mantises. That definitely plays a role, because I actively fluoresce, and that’s how we signal to each other that it’s time to choose a mate. Maybe I also need acute vision to have extremely accurate depth perception, when it’s time to aim to smash my dinner to smithereens… which is, you know, always.

Bottom line is, your human science will never fully understand my glorious eyeballs.

We mantis shrimp come in a couple of different models: smashers and spearers, so to speak. Some of us have long, spiky appendages that ensnare and impale our prey, while others have a giant blunt “club” claw that packs a punch like no other. I strike with a force that is approximately 100 times my own body weight. If you could accelerate your arm at ONE TENTH of that speed, you could throw a baseball off the planet.

What with my club hand, I’m not the best at writing blogs. I’m better at rapping. Check out my debut.


*You can also buy a T-shirt with my face on it, so, that’s pretty awesome.

Mantis Shrimp

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 11.20.43 AMMantis Shrimp are neither a shrimp nor a mantis. These odd looking creatures fall under the Subphylum of crustaceans and are in the same class as shrimp, crabs and lobsters. Mantis Shrimp have their own order called Stomatopods, which contains over 450 different species of these animals.

We can separate Mantis Shrimp into two main categories: spearers and smashers. This is in reference to their front appendages. Spearers have an almost spear like appendage that is used to snag soft bodied prey, while smashers have developed a thickened, hammer like appendage used to break shells and exoskeletons. *The Mantis Shrimp seen above is a smashing Mantis Shrimp.

While these animals seem cute and cuddly these are actually one of the most dangerous animals we have the ability to see around Catalina. The Mantis Shrimp will use its smashing and spearing appendages at great speeds to immobilize or kill its prey. The estimated speed at which these animals use their raptorial claws is the same as the acceleration of a .22 caliber bullet or 10,000 times the force of gravity. This movement is so fast that water vaporizes around the claw meaning the Mantis Shrimp’s prey gets hit twice: once by the claw itself and once by the resulting shock wave.

Screen Shot 2016-03-29 at 11.20.19 AMWhile these animals do seem quite dangerous, when seen in the ocean, they will most likely stay hidden within their burrows. Mantis Shrimp create “L-shaped” burrows that conceal their entire body. They will then poke their head out to watch out for predators or to find prey. If you ever observe a Mantis Shrimp the chances are they will retreat into their burrow away from any trouble. However if they do not retreat be wary for the Mantis Shrimp really packs a punch!


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