Beautiful and picturesque but deadly.

Article by – H.M.Wandana Ruwani Gunarathne

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Mantis shrimp also known as stamatopod is a small crustacean, extremely lives in the marine environment. They are members of order stamatopoda and the genus Squilla. They are so special animals because their second pair of limbs is outstanding having enlarged shaped like forelimbs of the praying mantid (an insect). They are a widely distributed group consisting of more than 450 species all around the world. They are mostly found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans near Eastern Africa and Hawaii. Mantis Shrimp mostly lives in warm, shallow waters and they approximately grow from 6 to 12 inches in length. They have a better vision than the butterfly. All Mantis shrimp species can be divided into spearers and smashers, based on their types of claws. Spearers have a spiny appendage, that is used to stab soft-bodied prey like worms. Smashers have well-developed appendages which are used to blugeon and smash their prey into pieces. They are usually predators who are fed by fishes, crabs, and worms. They are beautiful and picturesque because of their colourful outermost shell and colourful body. The outermost shell is also known as carapace.It is vibrant in colours such as green, blue, red, and orange. They produce a deadly toxin that is harmful and deadly for humans, yellowfin tuna, and larger fish. There are so many interesting factors about mantis shrimps that are also known as smashers such as smashers can punch their prey at the same velocity as a gunshot from a.22 caliber rifle. Smasher Mantis shrimps have two raptorial appendages in front of their body to punch and accelerate its prey. Their punch is so fast and it may result in cavitation bubbles.When the bubbles collapse ,they can produce an intense shock wave which is like a double punch which can kill preys instantly.They have trinocular vision like developed animals and they can gauge depth and distance by their eyes. These organisms have the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom and the most complex and developed visual system that is similar to technology found in DVD players.Anyway the amazing fact is that they have significant colour photoreceptors , actually worse at differentiating color than humans . Scientists believe that their eyes act as a satellite which are operating at a different level . Mantis shrimps are also a popular food in some countries such as Japan, Vietnam , Philliphene and Hawailn Islands . Some of them live together with the same partner for about 20 years. Nowadays, they are known as a “New camera for detecting cancer”. Researchers from the University Of Queensland believe their complex eyes can detect cancer cells in the human body. They have the ability to identify cancerous and healthy tissues by their complex eyes. However, their origin on earth goes back nearly 400 million years which is about 170 million years before dinosaurs.

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Article by – H.M.Wandana Ruwani Gunarathne
Design by – Sahanma Nipuni (ZSJP Media Crew)

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