Wacky Wednesday Fun Facts

by Janie Jones

So last week I wrote about Earth Day and the Google quiz which identified you with an animal.  Well, I told the spud about it and she took the quiz too.  Apparently the spud is a mantis shrimp.  Not knowing any more about mantis shrimp than I did pangolins, I Googled it.  Turns out mantis shrimp can be pretty cool.  Thanks to Wikipedia and the info I lifted from there, you too can now see just how cool mantis shrimp are and do so from the comfort of my blog:

Wikipedia says they can range in size, from an average of about 12 inches all the way up to the largest mantis shrimp ever seen which was 18 inches!  There are more than 400 species of mantis shrimp and can range in color from shades of brown to to bright rainbow colors.

While they are apparently pretty common in tropical ocean waters they are not well known, as most species spend the majority of their life tucked away in burrows and holes.

Called “sea locusts” by ancient Assyrians, “prawn killers” in Australia and sometimes referred to as “thumb splitters” – because of the animal’s ability to inflict painful gashes if handled incautiously – mantis shrimps sport powerful claws that they use to attack and kill prey by spearing, stunning, or dismemberment.  Mantis shrimp can move super fast when they are hunting or defending themselves and strike with extreme force for such a small creature.  In captivity, some larger species are capable of breaking through aquarium glass with a single strike.


Depending on the type of mantis shrimp they often eat other small crustaceans and molluscs such as crabs, snails, or  oysters or fish.

It seems they have very complex eyes too, with very sophisticated vision and the ability to see in ways most other animals don’t.  Their special visual abilities may help them communicate, avoid danger, find food, and judge mating seasons.  It has even been suggested that the mantis shrimp’s eyes can detect cancer and the activity of brain cells!

Holy moly!

Mantis shrimp are long-lived and some species use fluorescent patterns on their bodies for signaling with their own and maybe even other species.

They can learn and remember well, and are able to recognize individual neighbors with whom they frequently interact.

Depending on the species, they may lay eggs and keep them in a burrow, or they can be carried around under the female’s tail until they hatch. Also depending on the species, male and female may come together only to mate, or they may bond in monogamous long-term relationships remaining with the same partner for up to 20 years. They share the same burrow and both sexes often take care of the eggs.  Some female mantis shrimp will lay two clutches of eggs: one that the male tends and one that the female tends. In other species, the female will look after the eggs while the male hunts for both of them.

While most mantis shrimp “walk” or swim like we would expect, one species, Nannosquilla decemspinosa, has been observed wrapping itself into a circular shape and rolling like a wheel.

Find these facts fascinating?  Want to read more?  I recommend checking this link out.  It will give you a whole new respect for the mantis shrimp:

Click here to visit The Oatmeal mantis shrimp cartoon.

I sure had fun looking this stuff up.  I hope you have fun reading about it!

2 Comments to “Wacky Wednesday Fun Facts”

  1. I was a woolly mammoth! Enormous, elderly, in need of a hair cut…

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