mantis shrimp with eggs 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). The carapace of mantis shrimp covers only the rear part of the head and the first four segments of the thorax. Mantis shrimp appear in a variety of colours, from shades of brown to bright neon colours. Although they are common animals and among the most important predators in many shallow, tropical and sub-tropical marine habitats, they are poorly understood as many species spend most of their life tucked away in burrows and holes.
Called “sea locusts” by ancient Assyrians, “prawn killers” in Australia and now sometimes referred to as “thumb splitters” – because of the animal’s ability to inflict painful gashes if handled incautiously– mantis shrimp sport powerful claws that they use to attack and kill prey by spearing, stunning, or dismemberment. 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. by El-mar7