Mantis shrimp packs a powerful punch

The Mantis shrimp, now at Tynemouth's Blue Reef Aquarium.
The Mantis shrimp, now at Tynemouth's Blue Reef Aquarium.

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 12cms from nose to tail but he is 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 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.

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.

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

“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.”

However it is not just potential prey they are prepared to pick a fight with. One mantis shrimp was filmed attacking and defeating an over-confident octopus, and several divers have been badly injured after straying too close.

Scientists have also recently discovered the shrimps have the most sophisticated vision of any creature on the planet.

It is thought they may be able to distinguish up to 100,000 colours – ten times more than the human eye.