Test Your Knowledge: Mantis Shrimp Quiz

By: Nathan Chandler

Test Your Knowledge: Mantis Shrimp Quiz
Image: Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images

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?
in small groups
in large groups
alone
They spend most of their time in burrows, lying in wait for passing prey.

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What is the defining trait of mantis shrimp?
their relative intelligence
their powerful claws
These shrimp use their claws for lightning strikes that can slash human skin and even break glass.
their running speed

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True or false: All mantis shrimp are smashers that use their power to beat prey into submission.
true
false
A second major category, called spearers, instead uses a spear to stab prey.

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Other than vicious weapons, what other standout characteristic do mantis shrimp have?
highly evolved feet
complex eyes
Their eyes are some of the most amazing known to science.
humanlike blood

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Why does this shrimp have "mantis" in its name?
Its mouth is shaped like that of a praying mantis.
It is just as aggressive as a praying mantis.
It tucks appendages under its body like a praying mantis.
Its elegant (and deadly efficient) posture makes it look like the insect that shares its name.

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True or false: Smasher shrimp strike faster than spearer shrimp.
true
The smashers may be 10 times faster than their already speedy cousins.
false

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The mantis shrimp belongs to which order?
echinozoa
veneroida
stomatopod
Like other shrimp it is a type of crustacean.

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How big do the largest mantis shrimp grow?
about 8 inches (20 centimeters)
about 15 inches
Most are around 4 inches; the largest ever was 18 inches.
about 20 inches

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True or false: Mantis shrimp are nocturnal.
true
false
They may be active at any time depending on the species and location.

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How many color-receptive cones do mantis shrimp eyes contain?
16
Human eyes, which are also complex, have only three.
eight
five

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Compared to humans, how many more colors can a mantis shrimp detect?
four times as many
eight times as many
10 times as many
They can also move each eye independently of the other, making for a truly amazing party trick.

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How many species of mantis shrimp are there?
about 100
about 450
They are found in sea waters all over the world.
about 620

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The mantis shrimp can be traced how far back into fossil history?
about 30 million years
about 100 million years
about 250 million years
They are an ancient animal that has evolved in many subtle and amazing ways.

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How fast is the mantis shrimp's ability to strike with its hammer or spear?
50 times as fast as a blink of an eye
If a mantis shrimp decides to attack you, you won't dodge its blow.
10 times as fast as a blink of an eye
five times as fast as a blink of an eye

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Due to the extreme speed of the strike, what happens to the water around the shrimp's attack limb?
It changes color.
It cavitates.
The water vaporizes, causing cavitation bubbles; ultimately it's like a tiny implosion.
It becomes harder than normal water.

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How does cavitation affect the prey?
It adds a powerful shock wave to the attack.
With a pair of clubs matched to a pair of cavitation shockwaves, a hungry mantis shrimp shows no mercy.
It boils them.
It makes them more buoyant and easier to eat.

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True or false: Mantis shrimp do not chase their prey.
true
false
They are exceedingly aggressive and will happily chase prey and beat it to death.

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Why do some female mantis shrimp have to lay two clutches of eggs instead of one?
so that she has something to eat during the offspring's larval stage
so the male can take care of one
The male is then required to take up protective duties, better ensuring that some of the young survive.
so she can scurry back and forth between the two

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How do mantis shrimp fight each other over territory?
They treat each other like prey.
They scuffle.
They typically hold back their primary weapons to avoid major injury.
They trick each other.

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Which set of appendages develops into the weapons that the shrimp uses to kill prey?
first set
second set
The first set of legs helps to steady the attack.
third set

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What's the longest that some mantis shrimp live in the wild?
18 months
three years
20 years or longer
These tough shrimp live longer than most house cats.

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True or false: Mantis shrimp are all monogamous.
true
false
But many are monogamous and spend years of their lives together.

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At what speed does the shrimp unleash its hammer weapon?
30 feet per second (9 meters per second)
75 feet per second
A springlike system, including a latch, helps to keep the weapon in check until the shrimp needs it.
90 feet per second

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How many creatures on Earth can create circular polarization with their visual system?
one
Mantis shrimp can actually use polarized vision in specific cases; no other creature can.
three
six

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True or false: Mantis shrimp are not actually shrimp.
true
They are crustaceans, but they technically aren't shrimp.
false

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The taste of mantis shrimp flesh is often compared to what?
lobster
Often, they taste more like lobster than shrimp.
shrimp
chicken

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How does a mantis shrimp process all of the visual information collected by its eyes?
in the eye
The eyes are bigger than the brain and do the processing.
in the brain
in the brain stem

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As time goes by, what happens to the mantis shrimp's clublike weapon?
It breaks down.
But because they molt, the shrimp will just replace those body parts, anyway.
It gets sharper.
It becomes articulated.

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What's one reason that the shrimp's eyes process visual information instead of the brain?
speed
With the massive amount of incoming information, it is faster for the shrimp's eyes to process many of the visual cues.
lack of intelligence
sea water effects the brain

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Why do many aquarists avoid keeping mantis shrimp as pets?
They are too violent.
They eat just about everything.
The shrimp might survive, but it might kill just about everything else in the tank.
They are hard to care for.

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You Got:
/30
Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images

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