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Mantis Shrimp Don’t Live In A Magical Technicolour World After All

But they still pack a punch, so maybe don’t say that to their face.

1. Mantis shrimp are pretty much the world’s coolest crustaceans.

Video Courtesy Roy L Caldwell

2. Don’t be fooled by their tiny arms: A mantis shrimp could punch you at a speed of 80 kilometers per hour if it wanted to.

Image courtesy of Roy L Caldwell

That’s the same acceleration as a .22-caliber bullet.

3. Just look at this one destroy a clam.

For real.

4. Oh and they can also catch fish.

Image courtesy Roy L Caldwell

5. They’re pretty colorful too. Which seems to make sense when you realize they have four times as many color receptors in their eyes as humans do.

Image courtesy of Roy L Caldwell

They have 12 different types of photoreceptors, compared to our measly three. Scientists think you only need four to seven to see basically all the colors, so 12 seems just a little bit excessive to say the least.

So we thought their amazing colors were related to their ability to see loads more colors than humans.

6. But now scientists think mantis shrimp might not actually be seeing all that many colors after all.

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They can see wavelengths of light ranging from deep ultraviolet to far infrared — outside the range of human vision. But it turns out mantis shrimp may not be able to distinguish between some colors that we can easily tell apart, like dark yellow and light orange.

Scientists from the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, and National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan conducted tests where they gave the shrimp a reward if they chose the correct colored object. But they often failed to choose the right one.

7. Scientists realized that the shrimp are using a completely different method to process color.

Image courtesy of Roy L Caldwell

When we look at an object, our brains compare the amount of light each of our three color receptors pick up to determine what color the object is. But instead of simply comparing the ratio of, say, red to blue light, mantis shrimp scan objects and recognize the patterns this scanning creates on their photoreceptors.

8. Which is actually pretty cool in itself. Well done, mantis shrimp.

Video courtesy of Roy L Caldwell

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