My mantis shrimp goes to town on a clam

Mantis shrimp are surprisingly beautiful and constructed with a myriad of appendages and flaps and antennae that can leave one mystified. Their rotating spherical eyes, supported on stalks, are also right out of a science fiction movie. If there is a god, does s/he have this much of a sense of humor? And if there is no god, how did evolution come up with this bizarre contraption. Look at my web site ( for more movies about my mantis friend, including some eye swivels and one amazing cartoon-ish skedaddle.

Bizarre beauty aside, mantis shrimp have one surprising feature, a “hammer” that they use to destroy clam shells. The creature looks too frail to succeed in simply cracking a clam shell into pieces, but this movie demonstrates how it is done. It is long, at over 60 MB, but well worth it, if you have broadband.

One Response to “My mantis shrimp goes to town on a clam”

  1. Cozmicray Says:

    Mantis Shrimp

    Divers call mantis shrimp “thumb splitters.” The impact from a blow from the claws and head is only slightly less than the impact of a .22 caliber bullet.

    They are actually Stomatopods

    Stomatopods (mantis shrimps) are predatory crustaceans that live in the shallow waters of tropical and subtropical seas. They use specialized raptorial appendages to capture and subdue prey by either “spearing” the animals or “smashing” them with heavily calcified clubs. The force of the strike of a large Californian species approaches that of a 22 caliber bullet, and is capable of breaking double layered safety glass. They are, weight for weight, probably the most formidable animals alive.

    Good info at

    How fast can a mantis shrimp strike? (ASJ)

    Stomatopod strikes are one of the fastest known movements in the animal kingdom. Although they exist in a medium significantly denser than air, their strikes are 10 times faster than those of the land-based Praying Mantis. The raptorial appendages of stomatopod spearers can go from full rest to a speed of 10 meters/second in 4-8 milliseconds.

    Other very fast movements in the animal kingdom include the strike of an Odontomachus ant (the mandible tips of these large ponerine ants travel at 8.5 m/sec and closes within 1 millisecond); the jump of a springtail at 4 milliseconds; and the escape response of a cockroach at 40 milliseconds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: