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Photo Of The Week

August 30, 2013

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Mantis shrimp or stomatopods are marine crustaceans, the members of the order Stomatopoda. They may reach 30 centimetres (12 in) in length, though in exceptional cases have been recorded at up to 38 cm (15 in). (Good for them!) Mantis shrimp appear in a variety of colours, from shades of browns to bright neon colours (those from the 90s anyway). Although they are common animals (they’re special to someone!) and among the most important predators in many shallow, tropical and sub-tropical marine habitats (grrrr), they are poorly understood (years of therapy will fix that) as many species spend most of their life tucked away in burrows and holes. (Therapy can also fix that…..so can a bottle of Scotch!)
Called “sea locusts” (charming) by ancient Assyrians, “prawn killers” (even better!) in Australia and now sometimes referred to as “thumb splitters” (hmmm) – because of the animal’s ability to inflict painful gashes if handled incautiously (stupid is as stupid does)– mantis shrimp sport powerful claws that they use to attack and kill prey by spearing, stunning, or dismemberment (it’s always the small ones you have to watch out for). Although it only happens rarely, some larger species of mantis shrimp are capable of breaking through aquarium glass with a single strike from this weapon. (Handy to have around if ever you find yourself submerged in a sinking vehicle or other glass contraption). Thank you to Wikipedia for all of the useful facts! Ridiculous parenthesized comments, courtesy of thy blogger.

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