Boxing champions of the deep.
Mantis shrimp are one of my favorite animals and I could go on for days about these amazing creatures, but I'll try to keep this short! Mantis shrimp aren't actually shrimp, they belong to a separate order called Stomatopoda.
They can be classified into two broad subgroups, the smashers and the spearers. This is in reference to their "raptorial appendages" or their forelegs, which come equipped with either clubs or spears. The spearers use their raptorial appendages to spear soft bodied prey such as fish.
The smashers, like the peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus) pictured, use their clubs to break open the shells of their prey, including crabs and snails. They deliver these punches at 50mph with the force of a .22 caliber bullet! This blinding speed causes the water between their club and target to boil and produces "cavitation bubbles". The collapse of these bubbles produce a second impact as well as "sonoluminescence" which simply means they make light. Even if the initial punch misses the target, the shock wave from the collapse of these cavitation bubbles can stun or kill their prey.
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