What Does Ocean Mantis Shrimp Eat For Food?
Mantis shrimp have a bit of a reputation because they are known to have the potential to break the glass of an aquarium and even seriously injure the hand of an irresponsible fisherman.
These crustaceans have a level of intelligence that far exceeds expectations, as evidenced by their intricate social interactions and their ferocious behavior as predators.
However, the specific diet of mantis shrimp varies from one species of mantis shrimp to another.
What Kind Of Animal Is A Mantis Shrimp?
Any member of the Stomatopoda taxonomic order is referred to as a mantis shrimp.
Over 450 distinct species have been identified within this group by researchers.
They belong to the class of animals known as crustaceans and are therefore related to lobsters, other shrimp, and crabs.
Most mantis shrimp species mature to a length of about four inches, although some can grow to lengths of ten inches or more.
Based on how they hunt and the structure of their bodies, mantis shrimp can be divided into two primary groups.
Raptorial Appendages Of The Mantis Shrimp
Regarding their raptorial appendages, which are the pair of front claws used for hunting prey, the different species of mantis shrimp each have one of two distinct variations.
The first category is called spearers, which is a very scientific name. The claws of spearers are armed with several pointed barbs that are used to pierce the flesh of their prey.
The equally scientific name knows the second category of the smashers. To bring down their prey, smashers use a section of their front claws that is shaped like a club and has been hardened.
This collective packs a powerful punch. Applied to a human, their blow would pack the same punch as a handgun, if not more.
Dietary Requirements For Mantis Shrimp: Spearers
Both smashers and spearers typically specialize in hunting different kinds of prey.
Because they have sharpened appendages, spearers usually go for easier prey. Squid, worms, octopus, and fish are all types of prey that can be found.
The ambush is the hunting strategy of choice for this particular group. They wait within a burrow until their prey comes within striking distance, at which point they quickly launch an attack.
Squilla empusa is one example of a species of mantis shrimp that can be hunted using a spearer style.
This species is home in the soft mud covering the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay. The vast majority of its prey consists of fish, other mantis shrimp, krill, snails, worms, and shrimp.
After the initial attack, like most other spearers, it pulls its catch back inside its burrow to consume it.
Diet Of The Mantis Shrimp: Smashers
Smashers and spearers both use brute force to incapacitate their prey.
This enables them to hunt prey with tough shells because they can break through their defenses and consume them.
Crabs, clams, mussels, and snails are some of the prey that certain animals eat. This group does not ambush their prey but actively searches for it outside their home burrow.
They do not hide and wait for it to come to them. One species of mantis shrimp known as the shortnose mantis (Odontodactylus brevirostris) is notable for its use of a smasher hunting technique.
This animal’s habitat extends from the western Atlantic Ocean to the Indo-Pacific Ocean.
They crush their prey with their powerful claws, including lobsters, crabs, snails, clams, and other shellfish.
Like most other species of smasher mantis shrimp, they use their claws to defend themselves and their burrows from potential threats, such as other mantis shrimp or predators.
Additional Interesting Facts Regarding Mantis Shrimp
- Peacock mantis shrimp can strike at speeds of up to 23 meters per second, which is the same as a. 22-caliber gun!
- Individual shrimp can identify one another through chemical cues, and they can even use their claws to spread their “scent” in the direction of other shrimp.
- One of the few animals capable of hunting the dangerous blue-ringed octopus is the mantis shrimp.
- The eyes of the vast majority of mantis shrimp species are extraordinarily developed and complex, allowing them to perceive some portions of the ultraviolet spectrum and polarized light.
- Mantis shrimp have earned the monikers “killer shrimp,” “thumb splitters,” “thumb busters,” and “finger poppers” due to their propensity for inflicting painful injuries on unsuspecting fishermen.
- There is a subspecies of spearer mantis shrimp that exhibits monogamous reproductive behavior. They live in the same burrow; the male brings food to the female while the female watches over and guards the eggs.
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