Today was just an ordinary day until I came across Oatmeal’s comic on the “awesomeness” of the mantis shrimp.  If, like me, you’re wondering what exactly a mantis shrimp is, I’ll tell you what I’ve found out.  These little creatures, most often referred to as stomatopods, are found in tropical waters worldwide.  They’re carnivorous and eat just about anything.  Though not related to shrimp, they’re referred to as such due to their front appendages and the manner in which they capture their food.  They come in two hunting varieties: those who spear and those who SMASH their prey!  It’s said that the smashers can produce a blow similar to that of a .22 caliber gun and that they’re able to break through aquarium glass with that force.  This has been reported in The Daily Mirror, a British newspaper, on Friday, April 10, 1998, page 11.

Even more amazing, the mantis shrimp can have up to 16 photoreceptor cells, while the human species makes do with 4 — of which 3 are able to pick up colors.  Even so, a recent study by Hanne Thoen of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia has shown that the mantis shrimp has difficulty distinguishing one color from another (it could be that their brain detects color in a way that’s new to science).

Interesting, no?  If you haven’t already… definitely head over to see why they’re the Oatmeal’s favorite new animal.

Lastly, I can’t let you guys go without sharing Chichi Wang’s experience with cooking up a batch of fresh mantis shrimp.