Terry Watts (sirterrywatts) wrote,
Terry Watts

Pecock Mantis Shrimp - Odontodactylus scyllarus

Mantis shrimp are one of the more unusual things you can find on the reef.

They have a long history in the world, with the ancient Assyrians naming them the sea locust, known to kill and eat prawns. However, they are very interesting. Their vision includes the UV spectrum in their peculiar eyes that operate independently. There preferred the method of eating there prey is to either spear or club their food with there forelimbs.

The peacock mantis shrimp seen below, is very colourful and can be very difficult to find among the colours on the reef. More recently these fish have been popular with people wanting to set up a home aquarium. However, there have been a number of cases of the mantis shrimp hitting the glass causing it to crack and in some cases break open.

Behaviourally they have ritualised fighting with one another, and exhibit complex colours indicating which sub-species they are. Confusingly they can both raise there young and be in a long-term relationship, or breed and all the responsibility is left on one parent. Ultimately it depends on the individuals. If you are looking for one however, you simply need to pay a very close attention to the rocks on the upper reef platform. As they prefer to be well hidden and attack fish that swim in front of their burrow.

To take todays photograph I used a 10cm black ball that I put on the end of a rod to lure the mantis shrimp from its hole. This was entirely experimental, but it worked perfectly. Enabling me to take a very clear picture of the subject, to the point of revealing the structure of the eye in detail.

Tags: australia, great barrier reef, mantis shrimp, odontodactylus scyllarus, reef, stomatopod
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