Test Your Knowledge: Mantis Shrimp Quiz



By: Staff

5 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

You’ve heard of the praying mantis, a bizarre-looking, uber-vicious predator of the insect world. However, most of us barely even know about the existence of the mantis shrimp, which isn’t actually related to the praying mantis, but shares some pretty formidable characteristics.

Indeed, most people’s shrimp knowledge is limited to the varieties that we commonly eat. Some people do eat mantis shrimp boiled, in-shell or even as part of a sushi roll. More often, however, people tend to nosh on cold water shrimp like Pandalid shrimp, as well as farmed, wild or imported shrimp. It’s a good thing there are so many sources for shrimp meat  — 25 percent of all American seafood consumed is shrimp, making it the most popular ocean-based treat. These standard-issue shrimp are nothing to be fearful of, unlike the mantis shrimp (which is someone dubiously named -- more about that in the quiz). Regular shrimp are in fact of little threat to anyone, as they sift through the sand for nutrients and filter them out of the ocean water.

Whereas regular shrimp aren’t known for violence, the mantis shrimp definitely is, but they’re hardly the only species with bizarre tricks up its shell. The aptly named spitting spider can spit glue on its prey, keeping it still until it delivers the death knell. The whip scorpion also has quite the creative defensive arsenal, thanks to its ability to shoot acid from its anal glands when it senses danger. Mantis shrimp are beautiful sea creatures with a long list of amazing (and terrifying) traits. How much do you know about this savage animal? Take this quiz to find out.

How do most mantis shrimp live their lives?

They spend most of their time in burrows, lying in wait for passing prey.


What is the defining trait of mantis shrimp?

These shrimp use their claws for lightning strikes that can slash human skin and even break glass.


True or false: All mantis shrimp are smashers that use their power to beat prey into submission.

A second major category, called spearers, instead uses a spear to stab prey.


Other than vicious weapons, what other standout characteristic do mantis shrimp have?

Their eyes are some of the most amazing known to science.


Why does this shrimp have "mantis" in its name?

Its elegant (and deadly efficient) posture makes it look like the insect that shares its name.


True or false: Smasher shrimp strike faster than spearer shrimp.

The smashers may be 10 times faster than their already speedy cousins.


The mantis shrimp belongs to which order?

Like other shrimp it is a type of crustacean.


How big do the largest mantis shrimp grow?

Most are around 4 inches; the largest ever was 18 inches.


True or false: Mantis shrimp are nocturnal.

They may be active at any time depending on the species and location.


How many color-receptive cones do mantis shrimp eyes contain?

Human eyes, which are also complex, have only three.


Compared to humans, how many more colors can a mantis shrimp detect?

They can also move each eye independently of the other, making for a truly amazing party trick.


How many species of mantis shrimp are there?

They are found in sea waters all over the world.


The mantis shrimp can be traced how far back into fossil history?

They are an ancient animal that has evolved in many subtle and amazing ways.


How fast is the mantis shrimp's ability to strike with its hammer or spear?

If a mantis shrimp decides to attack you, you won't dodge its blow.


Due to the extreme speed of the strike, what happens to the water around the shrimp's attack limb?

The water vaporizes, causing cavitation bubbles; ultimately it's like a tiny implosion.


How does cavitation affect the prey?

With a pair of clubs matched to a pair of cavitation shockwaves, a hungry mantis shrimp shows no mercy.


True or false: Mantis shrimp do not chase their prey.

They are exceedingly aggressive and will happily chase prey and beat it to death.


Why do some female mantis shrimp have to lay two clutches of eggs instead of one?

The male is then required to take up protective duties, better ensuring that some of the young survive.


How do mantis shrimp fight each other over territory?

They typically hold back their primary weapons to avoid major injury.


Which set of appendages develops into the weapons that the shrimp uses to kill prey?

The first set of legs helps to steady the attack.


What's the longest that some mantis shrimp live in the wild?

These tough shrimp live longer than most house cats.


True or false: Mantis shrimp are all monogamous.

But many are monogamous and spend years of their lives together.


At what speed does the shrimp unleash its hammer weapon?

A springlike system, including a latch, helps to keep the weapon in check until the shrimp needs it.


How many creatures on Earth can create circular polarization with their visual system?

Mantis shrimp can actually use polarized vision in specific cases; no other creature can.


True or false: Mantis shrimp are not actually shrimp.

They are crustaceans, but they technically aren't shrimp.


The taste of mantis shrimp flesh is often compared to what?

Often, they taste more like lobster than shrimp.


How does a mantis shrimp process all of the visual information collected by its eyes?

The eyes are bigger than the brain and do the processing.


As time goes by, what happens to the mantis shrimp's clublike weapon?

But because they molt, the shrimp will just replace those body parts, anyway.


What's one reason that the shrimp's eyes process visual information instead of the brain?

With the massive amount of incoming information, it is faster for the shrimp's eyes to process many of the visual cues.


Why do many aquarists avoid keeping mantis shrimp as pets?

The shrimp might survive, but it might kill just about everything else in the tank.


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