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Peacock Mantis Shrimp - Facts On The Beautiful Peacock Mantis Shrimp

Updated on November 28, 2010

Peacock Mantis Shrimp

Peacock Mantis Shrimp. Fastest strike in the world. You've probably seen them on a documentary and thought, "Looks just like a praying mantis". They do. It is the most lethal combination between an insect and a sea dwelling invertebrate you will ever come across in your lifetime.

They are also some of the most beautiful creatures ever to grace the sands of the ocean. The most beautiful being the topic of our interest. The Peacock Mantis Shrimp.

But the Peacock is only one of hundreds of species found in the wild. Due to its beauty however, it is probably the most desirable Marine Aquarium Shrimp among mantis shrimp enthusiasts. Making it the most expensive as well.

Peacock Mantis Shrimp

Peacock Mantis Shrimp Video

Peacock Mantis Shrimp Facts

Scientific Name : Odontodactylus scyllarus

Origin : Indo-Pacific Ocean

Maximum Size : Up to 1.5 Feet

Diet : Carnivore

The peacock mantis shrimp is one of the larger mantis shrimps available in the hobby today. Overall, mantis shrimp are considered "exotic" as most people don't really set up tanks exclusively for them.

They are easily introduced to aquariums via live rock as hitchhikers where they hide in the crevices. Most people are not aware of a hitchhiking mantis shrimp until one or two things happen.

Their fishes and crustaceans start to go missing and/or they hear a loud popping noise at night. Popping can be confused with the pistol shrimp as both are small enough to hide away in live rock and they both make popping noises.


Peacock Smashing A Crab


Spearer Skewing A Shrimp

Peacock Mantis Shrimp Weaponry

Mantis shrimp are some of the most impressive predators in the ocean. There are generally two kinds of mantis shrimp. Spearers and clubbers (Smashers). This can be easily seen by studying their front two appendages.

Smashers have blunt appendages that are suited to cracking the shells of crustaceans (mainly crabs and shrimp) while spearers have very sharp blades that are more suited to catching fish from the water column.

Both spearers and smashers strike their prey at astounding speeds and are one of the fastest strikers in the world. It is so fast the the human eye cannot make out the full strike.

Smashers have a strike that is also extremely powerful. It is said the strike generates a force of a .22 caliber bullet. They have also been known to smash aquarium glass as many unfortunate mantis enthusiasts can attest to.

Spearers are no less deadly, they can easily slice through flesh like butter. They have garnered an infamous nick name among divers, "thumb splitters". Unfortunate divers that put their hands where they're not wanted are in for some nasty cuts that will undoubtedly require stitching.

Yet despite their apparent danger to their keepers (us), mantis shrimp have quite a large following in the hobby.

Many hobbyists set up a tank just for a mantis shrimp and that is a smart thing to do because they can easily take out your expensive ornamental fish in a blink of an eye.

You know you have a mantis shrimp problem when you wake up the next day to find some fish missing.

If you're interested in keeping these ovely creatures i have only one piece of advice for you. Keep your fingers out of the water!

Smashers and Spearers

Mantis Peacock Shrimp Diet

All mantis shrimp are carnivores. As mentioned above, smashers like the peacock mantis shrimp are well suited to preying on a variety of crustaceans.

They strike the exoskeleton until their prey is dead. They then grab hold of it and retreat into their burrow to feed at their leisure.

I've added a video to the right (smashers and spearers) that illustrates beautifully how both types of mantis shrimp subdue their prey. Also take note of the speed of the spearers strike. Personally, i could barely see the full attack.


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    • aziza786 profile image

      Zia Uddin 

      8 months ago from UK

      Never heard of the peacock mantis shrimp until now. Very interesting to learn about it.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I am writing about this now and using it as a project at school!!!!!!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Doing this for a project at school

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Doing it for project at school

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i am doing this as my science project for school but it wont tell me where it lives to? can u tell me

    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I just received one of these guys from my local pet store and they are cool as shit. He is always on the move and its fun to watch him hunt shrimp.

    • PirateFX profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Chriz - They are pure saltwater creatures.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Can they live in freshwater

    • profile image

      studied on that for 4+ hours 

      9 years ago

      incase anyone was wondering why the "spearer skewing a shrimp" video ends with "large stomapod spearing ..." its beacause a mantis shrimp is a stomapod.


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