Pretend you’re a fish swimming in the ocean. What predator are you most afraid of? If you answered shark, you’re not alone. Most people think of the shark as the number one ocean predator. But Thomas Cronin, a Professor of Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland, points out the many features that make the mantis shrimp “far more terrifying” in his new article on The Conversation.
The mantis shrimp is an armored creature that slightly resembles a lobster. Though it is quite small (some are smaller than a pinkie finger), its ability to extend its muscles to their full length in a fraction of a second goes to show that this crustacean is not to be messed with. In fact, boat propellers and turbines blades are often ruined by the pure strength of the animal.
This species does not swim through ocean looking for food as a shark or whale might, but instead, hides and waits in the sand for their pray, which they can snatch in less than a second. To assist them with this, mantis shrimps have compound eyes. “Each eye is like three eyes squeezed into one,” writes Cronin. Their eyes are also able to recognize eight primary color channels, as opposed to the three that humans can. This means that mantis shrimps are easily able to judge a potential prey’s species, distance, and how best to attack.
For more fascinating information on one of the ocean’s top predators, read the full article (which features some awesome images!) here: https://theconversation.com/a-cooler-ocean-predator-than-sharks-consider-the-mantis-shrimps-99559