I’m surprised that I haven’t gotten around to posting this yet. Here is one of my favorite mantis shrimp videos of all time.
This segment was a bit of humor produced for ‘The Fastest Claw in the West,’ a documentary from 1985 about mantis shrimp. It is narrated by blog-hero David Attenborough, and features stomatopod expert Roy Caldwell. It turns out you can watch the whole thing on Youtube. It’s great fun and very informative. I highly recommend it:
‘The Fastest Claw in the West’: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
Also, check out Dr. Caldwell’s youtube channel for more great stomatopod videos.
In contrast to the pretty and placid G. playtsoma, today I have a photo and video of one of the meanest mantis shrimps I have encountered. Gonodactylus chiragra occurs in the same intertidal reef flats as G. playtsoma, but its temperament is the polar opposite. It hits hard and often.
You lookin' at me?
Its coloration is a mottled brownish-yellow-green on creme; except for bright orange and yellow accents on the antennae, mouthparts, and walking legs.
Here is a quick video of G. chiragra, whalloping the wall of its aquarium; attempting to hammer my finger (off-screen). It plays at regular speed and then at one-tenth speed (the slow-mo is much more impressive and/or comical, in my opinion).
If you want to know more about the astounding stomatopod strike, check out my previous article: Why Stomatopods are Awesome, I: Super Strength.
This was my first attempt at editing together a video, and I will hopefully have more content like this in the future.
I first saw this species of stomatopod in the field this year. They are really beautiful animals, with subtle but vibrant color accents on their dactyls, antennae, eyes, and on the edges of some of their somites (body segments). This individual is about 72 mm in length, and the species seems to be fairly docile (for stomatopods).
This animal also has very beautiful fluorescent patterns on its body:
G. platysoma; UV-excited fluorescence.
I talked previously about fluorescence in stomatopods here. However, I don’t know if the patterns on G. platysoma are used to amplify any particular signals. These animals live in shallow water and would have less use for fluorescent signal amplification.