Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Stomatopoda
Family: Odontodactylidae

Genus/species: Odontodactylus scyllarus


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Beautifully colored in peacock colors of greens, blues, and reds. Has a green body, blue head, green antennal scales, red limbs. The body is elongated with a long, flattened , blue tail and ranges in size from 3–18 cm (1.2-7.0 in). Highly noticeable is the pair of clubbed-shaped, praying mantis-like claws..

DISTRIBUTION/HABITATS: Indo-Pacific Habitat: warm salt water and builds U-shaped burrows in gravel substrates. Depth ranges from 3-40 m (10-131 ft).

DIET IN THE WILD: Feeds on other shrimp, worms, snails, crabs, mollusks. Lies in wait for prey in front of burrow, then swims out and quickly crushes prey with a strong, powerful smash. The claw moves so quickly it generates cavitation bubbles, which explode with a second powerful burst. The speed with which the claw moves through the water generates a force 100 times the shrimp’s body weight.

REMARKS: Large peacock mantis shrimp generate forces powerful enough to crush the shell of a large conch, and have been known in captivity to break the glass of their tanks!

The amazingly complex eyes of mantis shrimp detect 12 base colors (compared to our 3). They also can discern ultraviolet, infrared frequencies, and the polarization of light.


Color of Life note
Biofluorescence results from the absorption of electromagnetic radiation at one wavelength by an organism, followed by its reemission at a longer and lower energy wavelength, visually resulting in green, orange, and red emission coloration. Many species of mantis shrimp, for example, make use of fluorescent body parts when in threat display in order to intimidate or confuse either a predator or a competing male.
Ref: Color sources, California Academy of Sciences Docent program May 2015


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