Posts Tagged 'mantis shrimp'

New Infographic! Our Humble Ode to the Mantis Shrimp

If you’ve been a follower of ours for a while now, you probably know that we have a peacock mantis shrimp, and that they’re pretty awesome creatures!

national aquarium peacock mantis shrimp

From their lethal, club-like appendages to their eyes (widely-considered to be the most complex of any living creature), peacock mantis shrimp have captivated scientists and online audiences alike, the latter is largely due to this comic created by The Oatmeal.

Did you know? Peacock mantis shrimp have 16 color receptive rods in their eyes (humans get by with only 3!). These rods allow them to detect 100,000 colors and many wavelengths of light, including ultraviolet!

national aquarium peacock mantis shrimp

Want to learn more about these awesome creatures? Check out our mantis shrimp infographic: 

national aquarium mantis shrimp infographic


Animal Updates – May 17

Between our Baltimore and Washington, DC, venues, more than 17,500 animals representing 900 species call the National Aquarium home. There are constant changes, additions, and more going on behind the scenes that our guests may not notice during their visit. We want to share these fun updates with our community so we’re bringing them to you in our weekly Animal Update posts!

Check our blog every Friday to find out what’s going on… here’s what’s new this week!

Peacock Mantis Shrimp

We have a peacock mantis shrimp on exhibit!

peacock mantis shrimp

This colorful Indo-Pacific crustacean may look harmless, but it can pack a fatal punch. Also known as “sea locusts,” these marine crustaceans can grow to be up to a foot in length. While most crustaceans are opportunistic feeders, the mantis shrimp will actively hunt its prey.

 Here are 10 AWESOME facts about the mantis shrimp: 

  1. They have 16, count ’em 16, color receptive rods in each eye, which allows them to see circularly polarized light.
  2. The mantis shrimp has two club-shaped appendages that it punches out with (at an estimated speed of up to 50 mph) to break into hard-shelled mollusks.
  3. They have the fastest recorded “punch” of any living animal – it’s faster than a .22-caliber bullet.
  4. In fact, they move so fast that the water surrounding their appendages will boil in a process known as supercavitation.
  5. Using its appendages, the mantis shrimp can break through glass without causing any harm to itself.
  6. They can punch out at maximum force approximately 50,000 times between molts without causing any bodily harm.
  7. Engineers are studying mantis shrimp exoskeletons to hopefully build more effective armor for soldiers and protect athletes from concussions, among other uses.
  8. Watch a mantis shrimp break through glass to attack live prey.
  9. Some mantis shrimp mate for life – according to the BBC, one pair was observed staying together for over 20 years.
  10. We can trace the evolutionary lineage of mantis shrimp back 500 million years.

Be sure to check back every Friday to find out what’s happening!

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