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Peacock mantis shrimp

Peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus) could be called easily a super-shrimp. Not only is very quick, but can be called a death machine of the sea!

They are usually about 10 cm long, but if you measure the force by every centimetre of their body, they belong to the strongest animals of the planet.

They hit their preys with a force of 22 calibre gun bullet, what easily breaks shells of crabs and clams.

Captured needs to be kept in a strong plastic tank, because their punch could break the glass wall of the traditional tank.


The clubs of the shrimp are constructed like a spring crossbow – once released, it accelerates to over 80 km/h with a force of over 150 kg – almost 2500 times the weight of the shrimp!
In order to hit so strong and not to break the clubs, mantis shrimps possess a special shock absorber: a molecular structure which is different than by any other animal. This structure is called a bouligand structure and prevents small cracks to become grand ones. This allows the shrimp to punch many times without breaking the whole structure. This structure is deeply studied by scientists who want to reproduce it and create light, shock-proof constructions.


Mantis shrimps are very fast – they can strike in less than 800 microseconds that means that in theory during one eye blink they could punch 500 times! The velocity of punches results in an event called cavitation – a super-heated bubble which results in a small flash of light.



Mantis shrimps have amazing eyes: they have the broadest vision spectrum than any other animal. Similarly to lobsters, eyes of a mantis shrimp are on stalks, which the shrimp can move around and even direct every eye in a different direction.
Their eyes contain millions of light sensitive cells and 16 colour-receptive cones (humans have only 3). The mantis shrimp can detect ten times more colours than a human, including ultraviolet light.


Love life

Some of the mantis shrimps stay faithful to their mates for the entire life. Once they meet the shrimp of their life, they live together, protect their eggs together, and help each other in hunting, for up to 20 years.


Number of species


There is about 400 species of mantis shrimps. Being aggressive, they prefer to stay close to home, hunting occasionally outside. They prefer to ambush a prey close to their homes.

Mantis shrimps live in shallow tropical and sub-tropical environments.