What Do Ocean Mantis Shrimp Eat?

By Charlotte Ellis
A mantis shrimp hiding in between rocks on the ocean floor.

The mantis shrimp is a small predatory crustacean and one of the most aggressive animals known. They can be divided into two main groups: spearers and smashers. Spearers have sharpy, spiny forelimbs that they use to stab prey, and smashers have clublike forelimbs that they use to crush prey. Mantis shrimps are somewhat intelligent and individually recognize the other mantis shrimps they have fought before. They live in burrows in coral, rock or mud.

Packs a Wallop

The punch of a mantis shrimp has about the same force as a 22-caliber bullet and can break aquarium glass, making them fierce predators.

Diet Details

Spearers attack soft-bodied prey such as worms, fish and squid. Smashers eat hard-shelled prey including clams, crabs and snails. Mantis shrimps often prey on animals much larger than themselves.

Sharp Vision

Mantis shrimps have the most sophisticated vision of virtually any creature. They can distinguish 100,000 different colors, while humans can see only 10,000.

Monogamous Relationships

Some species of mantis shrimps have long-term monogamous relationships, and pairs have been observed to stay together for as long as 15 years.

Movement and Communication

One species of mantis shrimp curls its body into a wheel to roll down beaches. It is the only animal known to use active wheel-like motion. Some shrimps also fluoresce, or light up, as a way to signal each other.

About the Author

Charlotte Ellis has received an Master of Science degree in evolutionary biology from the University of California at Riverside and a Bachelor of Science degree in entomology from Texas A&M University. She has published articles on eHow.com on a variety of science topics.