Mantis shrimp packs a punch

Marine experts at Tynemouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium are taking no chances with their latest arrival – a trigger-happy peacock mantis shrimp.

Dubbed the ‘fastest claw in the North’, the shrimp may only be 12 cms from nose to tail but he’s still capable of landing a devastating knockout blow with the equivalent force of a .22 calibre bullet.

The shrimp uses a specially adapted front claw to literally batter its opponents into submission. Reaching speeds of 75 feet per second, the claw’s striking power is so strong it has been known to shatter safety glass.

In fact the species is so potentially dangerous staff at the North Tyneside wildlife attraction have ensured his new home features a super-strong acrylic convex viewing window and that he is fed from a safe distance using metal grabs.

Blue Reef’s Anna Etchells said: “Mantis shrimps are notorious as among the most aggressive and pugnacious of all marine creatures.

“They use their blunt, hammer-like front legs to stun their prey with repeated blows before wedging their battered victims – including crabs, clams and snails – against a solid surface and cracking their shells apart,” she added.

One mantis shrimp was filmed attacking and defeating an over-confident octopus, and several divers have been badly injured after straying too close, and in Australia they’ve earned the nickname ‘prawn killers’ and in the West Indies ‘split toes’.