A Mantis Shrimp has sixteen colour receptors in its eye. Big whoop. How many have you got? Three. Congratulations. You’re bare basic.
Those extra receptors make it the most advanced eye in the animal kingdom that allows the Mantis Shrimp to see colours that you can’t even comprehend. It’s also likely that they can see whole sections of the electromagnetic spectrum that are invisible to chumps like us. They can probably see UV rays and infrared. Researchers think the shrimps probably use their mad eyes for pulling birds but there is evidence to suggest other potential functions, like enhanced vision in murky waters.
As amazing as the Mantis Shrimp’s eye is, it’s not what they’re usually known for. They’re better known for having one of the hardest punches in the animal kingdom. The force that the shrimps punch gives out is about the same as being hit by a small bullet. It can reach 0-60mph in 0.002 seconds. It would definitely beat your score on that machine in the kebab shop. They’re often called, ‘thumb splitter’ because they’ve been known to cut a human thumb down to the bone. It’s rare to find them in captivity because they can quite easily smash through the glass of their aquarium, leap out of the water and Die Hard their way to freedom.
The sheer force of the inital punch is only half the story. The massive power behind the shrimp’s punch produces a bubble. The claw cuts through the water at such speed that it creates a vacuum. Water vapour starts to build up around the edge of the bubble causing the pressure to increase. When it collapses, the force causes it to implode. This produces an extremely loud sound and temperatures similar to that on the surface of the sun.
The force created by the collapse of the bubble sends out a shockwave that is powerful enough to stun and sometimes even kill their prey. Some researchers have even heard them shout ‘Hadouken.’
The energy released as the bubble pops sometimes makes a small flash of light. This is known as sonoluminesence. The light flash only lasts a few 100 picoseconds which is the same as a billionth of a second so, you can only see it on an expensive high-speed camera that you’ll never be able to afford.
On top of all that good shit, they look awesome. They’re like a giant, multi-coloured alien looking prawn with boxing gloves on. I would show you but this magazine is too cheap to print colour. So I just drew one instead.
By Charlotte Eling