The Mantis Shrimp: A Hue of Death
The ability to see twelve different colors, pulverize its victims in one punch and completely baffle scientists for years, the mantis shrimp is an extraordinary feat of evolutionary success. Humans, we have evolved for several hundreds of thousands of years to become the most complex and advanced keepers of time and knowledge that the universe has ever seen. Although we have created an illusion that humans are capable of understanding everything in the universe, we still cannot comprehend some of the traits acquired by our Earthling cousins.
We have three receptors in our eyes aptly named “cones” due to the shape of their cellular membrane. These cones allow us to see three main colors, red, green, and blue. Along with these three colors they give us the ability to see all colors that are derived from these such as yellow, pink, and orange. While what we can see can be beautiful and magnificent to us, the mantis shrimp would feel pity on us for the dull lives we lead. Certain species of the mantis shrimp are equipped with sixteen different photoreceptors in the eye, twelve of which are used strictly for detecting color of varying wavelength. This enables the mantis shrimp to see a broad range of colors that us humans can’t even begin to imagine or attempt to perceive. Not only are these eyes magnificent in their ability to perceive light and color beyond our own capabilities, they have the function to move and view areas around the completely independently of each other. The eyes of the mantis shrimp are considered to be the most complex in the animal kingdom.
Electromagnetic radiation also known as EMR is all the light that we are able to see but also much more than that. EMR is the energy emitted from charged particles. Different energy on particles emit different frequencies of light, and in the whole scale of these we are only able to see a small fraction of the entire EMR scale known as the visual light spectrum. There is light such as ultraviolet and inferred that we can’t perceive with the naked eye. Polarized Light is another property of light that is relevant to the mantis shrimp and our everyday lives. You can imagine light being a solid cylindrical ‘pipe’ that when filtered properly can change the frequency and the intensity of the light. While we aren’t able to see these ourselves we believe our friend the mantis shrimp can. The mantis shrimp has the ability to see twelve different colors, in any combination along with the ability to see different layers of polarized light. These eyes are able to make out such beauty that us, the keepers of all knowledge will never be able to understand.
The mantis shrimp embodies this grand life of colorful patterns down to the colors of their bodies. The body of a mantis shrimp is colorful, downright neon rave party colorful actually. This has evolved to be an extraordinary social benefit to the shrimp and has helped these creatures of the shallows become a fairly complex social animal. The colors of their bodies seem to have benefits in communicating with other Mantes. They use special colors that only other shrimps can see in order to mate safely and without high risk of being preyed upon during mating time. These colors have been proven to be a key strategy to their survival.
Although a safe and reliable way to mate is an important factor to the