Monday, May 24, 2010

Unusual Marine Sightings - Peacock Mantis Shrimp

Lately in and around Baie Ternay we have been finding an unusual marine creature that packs quite a punch. The Peacock Mantis Shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus) is found throughout the Indo-Pacific Ocean. These beautiful animals grow to around 18cm and are strikingly coloured. The male tends to be a turquoise green colour while the female of the species tends to have a yellow appearance.

Mantis shrimp have eyes mounted on stalks which are capable of moving independently of each. They also posses blunt appendages suited to cracking the shells of their prey, which consists mainly of crabs and other shrimp. What makes these shrimp so incredible is that they have one of the fastest strikes in the world. In fact it is so fast that it cannot be picked up by the human eye. The force of their strike has been likened to that of a .22 caliber bullet and they have been known to smash through aquarium glass.

A male mantis shrimp is green while the female is yellow.

For some reason we have been seeing a number of the Peacock Mantis Shrimp in our waters recently. They always appear curious when we spot them, rearing up and cocking their heads as if checking you out before scurrying off. Often they will allow you to approach closely before they disappear once again into their burrow.