Peacock Mantis Shrimp – Facts

14 Sep 2017

Meet the Peacock Mantis Shrimp, a resident critter in the Maldives – it may be small but it packs a punch! Find out more about this colourful creature:

Fact File

  • Lives in warm, shallow water in the Indian Ocean, often found in crevices of corals and rocks and on the ocean floor
  • Grows between 15-30cm in length
  • More than 400 different species of Mantis Shrimp worldwide
  • Can be traced back to 500 million years ago
  • With millions of light-sensitive cells they have 16 colour receptive cones, compared to humans who have only 3; they can even detect ultra violet light. The Peacock Mantis Shrimp experiences an explosion of colour and light and with themselves being so colourful, imagine how mind-blowing it must be if they look at each other!
  • Their eyes rest on top of their head and can move around independently making it easier for them to detect predators and prey
  • Very territorial and aggressive towards intruders
  • They feed mostly on gastropods, crabs, molluscs; they dismember and smash their prey into pieces with appendages that fold under their body when not in use
  • Their shell is so resilient that it is being researched to develop advanced body armour for combat purposes
  • They are not kept in aquariums because they kill all other aquatic animals inside and their powerful punch can break the aquarium glass
  • SUPER FUN FACT: It may be small but it sure can throw a super punch – has the ability to strike with a force similar to a .22 caliber bullet. In less than 3000th of a second, they can strike prey with a force of 1500 Newton. That is almost the same equivalent as humans would need to be able throw a small object into space!

Keep a look out for these colourful critters on your next dive.

Photo by Stefanie Wagner