Mantis shrimp have a flattened, segmented body. (The Southeastern Regional Taxonomic Center/South Carolina Department of Natural Resources)
The mantis shrimp is a crustacean with a flattened, segmented body and praying mantis-like claws. It burrows within muddy flats along the shoreline of the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay.
Flattened, translucent body with a pale green hue
Segmented abdomen and carapace. Each segment is outlined in dark green or yellow.
Emerald green eyes on stalks located on the top of the head
One pair of long, jackknife claws that resemble a praying mantis
Four pairs of clawed appendages, called maxillipeds
Three pairs of walking legs
Grows 8-10 inches long
Lives along the low part of the shoreline, forming burrows within deep, muddy flats
Burrows are complex, with many large entrance holes
Also found in deeper waters
Found in the middle to lower Chesapeake Bay
Eats live fish, crabs, worms and shrimp, including other mantis shrimp
Aggressive, violent predator
Uses its sharp claws to spear or slice through its prey with a quick, slashing motion
Reproduction and Life Cycle:
Because of its secretive, nocturnal habits, little is known about the mantis shrimp life cycle and mating habits
Not actually a shrimp, but rather a shrimp-like crustacean
Its distinctive emerald eyes contain more photo receptors than human eyes
The strike velocity of a mantis shrimp’s large, powerful claws is one of the fastest movements of any animal on earth. It takes a mantis shrimp less than 8 milliseconds to strike, which is about 50 times faster than the blink of a human eye.
Mantis shrimp claws are strong enough to wound a human, giving them the nickname “thumb splitters.”