Photo of the Week: Mantis Molt


Mantis shrimp are known for their hammer-like claws, their photoreceptor-rich eyes, and their colorful skin – which, as crustaceans, they must occasionally shed so they can grow. Here's one colorful specimen that dive tech and assistant aquarist Ashleigh Palinkas  originally shared on her Instagram feed.

"I was pleasantly surprised to find this perfectly intact molt in our mantis shrimp tank last week," Palinkas wrote. "This mantis shrimp (hemisquilla ensigera) was collected for research on biomechanics. Though not actually a shrimp but rather a stomatropod (distant relative of shrimp, crabs and lobster), the mantis shrimp is able to strike its prey with shocking force in only 4-8 milliseconds! The strike can form a cavitation bubble that then implodes, creating the force of a second punch.

"Additionally, the eyes of a mantis shrimp have anywhere between 12-16 photoreceptors (most humans have only three) and can even see ultraviolet (UV) light."

Related Image Gallery: Photo of the Week 2019

Sign Up For
Explorations Now

explorations now is the free award-winning digital science magazine from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Join subscribers from around the world and keep up on our cutting-edge research.