We are very fortunate that mantis shrimp are as small as they are, because we’d be in some serious trouble if we ever ran into a person-sized one. They have the ability to punch at the speed of a .22 caliber bullet and some are equipped with serrated blades making them tiny terrifying combinations of The Flash, Wolverine, and The Hulk. What’s more is that they have super-powered vision capable of seeing much more than any other animal. So, we guess, throw some of Hawkeye’s abilities in there too but incorporating him into that Flasha-Hulkerine mix just didn’t sound as impressive.
A recent video by PBS’s Deep Look treats us to footage of the two types of mantis shrimp (smashers and spearers) and the savagery of their attacks. But where things get really interesting is the breakdown of how these critters see. In addition to having the fastest strike in the animal kingdom, mantis shrimp have hexnocular vision (basically six pupils), 12 color receptors (compared to the three humans have) and the ability to see and manipulate the polarization of light. Why is this important? Deep Look explains that by reverse engineering the traits of a mantis shrimp’s eyes, doctors have developed ways to visually identify injuries and disease using polarization.
But really, let’s get back to that bullet punch. The video below by Smarter Every Day goes into just how the mantis shrimp is able to deliver such crushing blows and has some beautiful high speed footage of the crustaceans in action. It turns out, the power and speed of the mantis shrimp’s strike is due, in part, to everyone’s favorite potato chip shape; the hyperbolic paraboloid.
After all that, we’re really glad that the mantis shrimp is (at least for research’s sake) on our side. If they ever decided to organize, human beings would be in some serious trouble.
Think you could take a super-visioned, bullet-punching, knife-wielding mantis shrimp in a fight? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
Image: Deep Look