Peacock Mantis Shrimp

(Odontodactylus scyllarus)


The colorful peacock mantis shrimp is the very definition of “small but mighty.” They are typically only 2 to 7 inches long, but in a matter of milliseconds, a mantis shrimp can unfurl its appendages—which fold underneath its body—to deliver a devastating blow that pulverizes prey.

They also have complex eyes that move independently from each other and allow them to see the world very differently than humans do. Mantis shrimps’ eyes have at least 12 types of photoreceptors, which increases the speed at which they can identify colors. The shrimp’s own hard-shelled body is bursting with color—hues of bright red, green, orange and blue, and its forearms are covered in spots.

A Note From the Caretaker

Peacock mantis shrimp really pack a punch. A blow from one of their club-like appendages is quick—50 times faster than the blink of an eye—and deadly to prey.

Quick Facts

Learn more about the peacock mantis shrimp! Did you know that, because the mantis shrimp’s club can withstand incredible force, researchers believe that understanding its structure can help design body armor, protective sports gear and aerospace equipment?

This species is found in the warm waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

The peacock mantis shrimp can kill prey larger than itself and typically feeds on gastropods, crabs and mollusks.

Mantis shrimp typically grow to lengths of 2 to 7 inches.

This species is not threatened.

Some large fishes make a meal of the mantis shrimp.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter Sign up to receive updates on animals, news and events.