Stomatopods, also known as mantis shrimps, are just plain cool. Their eyes can see in a manner we’ve only just begun to understand and their punch is so powerful it’s inspiring engineering breakthroughs.
As such, filming the astonishing speed with which they punch or spear their prey is one of the many frontiers of super-slow-motion photography. Mantis shrimps use a technique that is similar to that of the unrelated pistol shrimp, revealed in the Earth Unplugged video we recently covered. However, where pistol shrimp grow to a maximum of 5cm, mantis shrimps can grow to seven times that. Not for nothing do the makers of this video describe them as like an “alien and predator all rolled into one.”
Mantis shrimps have two main techniques for killing prey. The “clubbing” species deliver a sort of knockout punch to hard-shelled species such as crabs, while the “spearers” have barbed tips to stab and drag them in. Either way you don’t want to get too close—one of their many nicknames is “thumb splitters.”
Wonder Of Science