Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

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Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  liquidg on 2nd May 2010, 2:32 pm

The shrimps name is directly derived from the Greek word (mantis) meaning prophet or seer.

This was because of the uplifted front legs when ready to attack as if in prayer.

The name is still relevant though the old meaning is more directed at the praying mantis in its modern conversion.

These stomatopods which are not actually shrimps are a member of the stomatopoda order and this one is the very common Pseudosquilla ciliata or peacock mantis.

Back in the day we would call them prawn killers and so far throughout the world there are more than 400 species of the mantis killing machine.
The one named ciliata of this huge group has an ability of being able to colour itself to the environment it is in at the time to a great degree and this one pictured is the coral colour they can take on to blend in.

This variety can attain a reasonable size of 6 to 8 inches unlike some others that can grow to 18 inches and be a virtual monster in their class.
A misconception of these most efficient killers is that some poses only the club weapon for breaking thru crustaceans shells as such and others the skewer for harpooning un suspecting fishes.

This from practical experience is false; several variations found in South Queensland waters have both killing tools at their command.

These weapons that can be projected at such force that they have been known to break 6 mil aquarium glass as a full sized adult.

With crustaceans they will hold on and smash at the creature at a blinding speed like a jackhammer at thin concrete.

The weapon combo has roughly three joints that when extended at top speed it sounds like a loud single clicking sound in the aquarium and if the pure ivory club part impacts on the glass it can be quite loud.

The click from the pistol shrimp is sometimes confused with these though the pistol clicks are in multiples of two or more unlike the mantis clicks being normally one at a time.

The wing style appendages either side of the head are for direction control and the mantis has the ability to turn under itself and fire at you much faster than you can move and will inflict a very nasty cut via its skewer to a human and be gone before you can react.

In this the first pic you can see the part of it that has a swollen end to it under its right eye, that is the club and from it at the front is the skewer held up against it and very hard to see and if it hits you in a sweep motion and not a jab it will literally slice you open.
Luckily these can not attain a huge size in nature or it would easily dominate the oceans of the world far beyond the white pointer or crocodile.



This one is just the carapace and tail section of which is well sought after as a similar to lobster flavoured delicacy.



This pic shows it is a female because of the abundance of swimming paddles with many of what appears like hairs that hold the eggs.



To finsh off,when looking around either under the ocean or along the low tide areas,don't put your hand near a small diameter hole,it may give you a reason to bleed and experience some serious pain.


Last edited by liquidg on 26th March 2012, 12:50 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  seastar on 22nd May 2010, 11:05 am

yikes --seems this critter could do alot of damage , interesting topic.

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Re: Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  RyanG on 18th March 2012, 7:16 am

Nice mantis!

For those who don't know, I am an avid Mantis collector and I am working on breeding a couple of species :-D

I am led to believe that this particular specimen is a male! Both sexes have the hairs under the tail, the only differentiating factor is that the males have sperm tubes on their last 2 walking legs- which you can actually see in the upside down photo!

Now, I have done some more research today and have found that a lot of species of 'smasher' Mantis have a rudimentary spear that is not directly used in feeding and protection, but is thought to be used in breeding and fighting.

I would love to see one of these particular species in person! As I said today Liquid, there are a fair few stomatopods that are yet to be formally identified. They are a comparatively small family of animals, and obviously specialists are few and far between! Apparently there are 500+ species that are only differentiated by very small external characteristics.

So, if anyone ever sees one while out diving, please a) be careful- a 6 inch mantis could OBLITERATE several of your knuckles at once!! and b) please collect it for me!!

Cheers guys!
Ryan

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Re: Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  liquidg on 18th March 2012, 8:45 am

Interesting stuff,keep more info coming Ryan,these are interesting creatures for sure,the females i thought that are females are,who knows what now,have you got a pick of what defines a female or male?

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Re: Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  RyanG on 18th March 2012, 8:54 am

There doesnt seem to be much info on the net- I spoke to a marine biologist who has had some success captive breeding about sexual differences- and he pointed out the sperm tubes on the males and said that is the ONLY reliable way to sex.

If you have a look at the upside down photo shows very clear tubes separate to the legs:



This is my albino female Gonodactylaceus graphurus:



Cool hey!

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Re: Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  liquidg on 18th March 2012, 12:44 pm

I never thought i would say this about a mantis shrimp,but thats cute.

cheers

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Re: Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  RyanG on 18th March 2012, 12:45 pm

ha ha ha... a cute ultimate killing machine!

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Re: Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  finfan on 24th March 2012, 2:14 am

They sure are a fascinating critter with the most advanced eye sight in the animal kingdom as well -- one very cool animal.
Cool

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Re: Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  RyanG on 24th March 2012, 2:27 am

Some interesting facts:

- The strike of their 'smashers' is at over 20 000N of force!
- They strike so fast that heat caused by friction in the water directly around their smashers is hotter than the sun
- They strike so fast that the friction of the smasher against water molecules can actually produce light.
- Human's see in a 3 colour spectrum... mantis see in a 16 colour spectrum including infra red!
- Mantis' eyes are not connected to a single optical nerve like ours, but numerous data streams that lead directly to the central nervous system- basically their eyes have their own dedicated brain.

I'm sure there are many more cool facts... these are just the ones I rattle off to people who see my mantis and ask me why I keep them haha!

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Re: Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  liquidg on 24th March 2012, 2:30 am

RyanG wrote:Some interesting facts:

- The strike of their 'smashers' is at over 20 000N of force!
- They strike so fast that heat caused by friction in the water directly around their smashers is hotter than the sun
- They strike so fast that the friction of the smasher against water molecules can actually produce light.
- Human's see in a 3 colour spectrum... mantis see in a 16 colour spectrum including infra red!
- Mantis' eyes are not connected to a single optical nerve like ours, but numerous data streams that lead directly to the central nervous system- basically their eyes have their own dedicated brain.

I'm sure there are many more cool facts... these are just the ones I rattle off to people who see my mantis and ask me why I keep them haha!

Holly you,know what,just as well these things are not much bigger. Shocked

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Re: Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  RyanG on 24th March 2012, 2:32 am

haha if they were the size of humans they would no doubt be the apex predator!!

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Re: Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  Kharn on 19th June 2012, 4:38 am

I don't want to come off 'all knowledgeable' or anything like that.......but I think your 'albino G.graphurus' might actually be a P.ciliata....

I have 4 G.graphurus and all share similar if not the same traits, even though they differ in color a fair bit, all there eyes match....

One of the reasons I say this is because the eyes are exactly the same as Pseudosquilla ciliata, the lines/pattern.....
That skin color, the bright yellow/orange is also a common color in Pseudosquilla ciliata....
P.ciliata is a spearer which is what confuses me so it should lack the ability to brake open snail shells....as seen in the pic provided.

I would put 99.9% positive on it being a P.ciliata, don't want to discredit you or anything!

Just hoped to help is all....

P.ciliata

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Re: Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  liquidg on 19th June 2012, 9:26 am

Kharn wrote:I don't want to come off 'all knowledgeable' or anything like that.......but I think your 'albino G.graphurus' might actually be a P.ciliata....

I have 4 G.graphurus and all share similar if not the same traits, even though they differ in color a fair bit, all there eyes match....

One of the reasons I say this is because the eyes are exactly the same as Pseudosquilla ciliata, the lines/pattern.....
That skin color, the bright yellow/orange is also a common color in Pseudosquilla ciliata....
P.ciliata is a spearer which is what confuses me so it should lack the ability to brake open snail shells....as seen in the pic provided.

I would put 99.9% positive on it being a P.ciliata, don't want to discredit you or anything!

Just hoped to help is all....

P.ciliata

All input is welcome Kharn.

There is so much untapped knowledge tucked away in the home hobbyist that they get smothered by the supposed knowledgeable ones.

The mantis is a popular and fascinating creature, bring on more info I say.

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Re: Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  Kharn on 19th June 2012, 11:07 am

liquidg wrote: Holly you,know what,just as well these things are not much bigger. Shocked

..... not much bigger ?

My current largest which is a spearer is at 300mm long thats a foot....nearly as thick as my forearm....but they get bigger to 400mm long and as thick or thicker then an adults forearm, imagine digging your feet in the sand in the water at the beach only to disturb, the 40cm, forearm thick, greatest predator the planet has ever known, kiss good bye to something affraid .......these ones also live for a long time, 25+ years!

To note with all stomatopods, BOTH spearers & smashers can do the same actions as each other....

As noted earlier the smasher can open its dactyl (claw) exposing a spike/spear, this is usually only used when the animal is really certain its going to score a lethal blow and there brought out particularly when facing off against there own (another stomatopod/mantis shrimp) usually contesting over burrow ownership, one well placed hit/stab to the underside of the animal by its opponent and its all over.

Same goes for spearers, the spearer can keeps its claws closed in and do whats called "defense" strike where the claws folded act as longer thin smashers! Mine will do this if I get to close to its burrow and it destroyed my giant eye drop thing that you use to feed corals, was doing a feeding one day for the corals (didn't even THINK!) and I just swept rite by him, he cracked the pole defensively which stunned me (I forgot, so well hidden in the sand) made a huge crack, thing lost all pressure.....

The only real part of a stomatopods defense (for in the case of stomatopods the best defense....is an insane offense) is actually there telson (tail) the telson is a very solid shell which acts as a shield, the Telson is very flexible so not only does it absorb lots of the damage through being sheer solid mass but it also absorbs the force by moving with the attack rather then trying to use force to stop it, it slows it down.

You can see in this picture how the attacking mantis shoots forward with its hammers coming out, whilst the defending mantis is curled in a ball facing its opponent with its telson/tail/shield in front ready to defend, typically a mantis stand off is rather comical....they both notice each other, then they both start to creep towards one another at a certain point they flip and roll into a ball held up off the floor by there legs, then they creep forward like that Laughing almost like those droids out of star wars that roll then open up (not a star wars geek but remember the movies).


If the fight isn't over anything in particular (burrow/food) they will generally just spar(don't bring out the spikes) and shoot off to there burrows when they have had enough.

No one species has the same hammer/spear and this is why some species hit harder/spear with more success then others, Odontodactylus scyllarus is the hardest hitting single species known, this is mostly due to #1 its size but just as importantly #2 its highly advanced (in comparison to other smashers) hammers. For example Hemisquilla californiensis gets is a smashing mantis and its maximum size is 320mm the Odontodactylus scyllarus gets to a maximus size of just 180mm almost half of H.cal, yet O.scy hits MUCH harder due to its advanced hammers.

Even then as I said above (#1 size) some smaller species can hit (on a ratio weight for weight) even harder then O.scy making them true pound for pound kings....

I am going to undertake a test with The Juggernaut (my O.scy which is about 180mm) I plan on using multiple panes of glass (dif thickness each) and teasing him with food on one side (the side he isn't on) to see just how thick he can smash (I know and have seen them smash glass before but as to the thickness....its debatable), ALL will be filmed in 1 video to dismiss disbelievers. All I know is it can smash glass but as to the thickness I seriously doubt standard aquarium glass is a problem cause by the looks of what I saw it was really thin stuff.....and there will be no better test subject to work with.

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Re: Mantis shrimp,the ultimate marine killing machine.

Post  Kharn on 19th June 2012, 11:15 am

Just to clarify on that test...

I don't plan on having the multiple panes at different thickness, all in one piece (therefore reinforcing one another...) no each pane will be used 1 by 1 up until he no longer does damage, because as I said I already know he can smash glass as I have personally seen it before.

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