This colorfully uncommon creature comes to us from the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It gets its name of peacock mantis shrimp because it resembles a mantis in the front with a peacock party in the back. It’s rather large eyes, floating above its head, are among the most impressive in all of creaturedom. They have 16 color-receptive cones which means they can detect 10 times more color than a human. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, they can also move each eye independently which helps them detect and avoid predators.

Though only about four inches long, they’re one of the strongest animals in the ocean. They’re quite the fighters and will punch their prey with the force of a bullet from a 22 caliber gun. As pretty as they are, they wouldn’t make a great addition to an aquarium because their punch is so powerful it could actually break the glass. A bit of homebody, the mantis shrimp doesn’t like receiving visitors and is extremely aggressive with intruders. Considering the lethal power of its punch, it’s best to avoid visiting a mantis shrimp without calling first. Though even then, it’s extremely unlikely your visit will be welcomed.

Some mantis shrimp species are rather romantic, meeting their dream shrimp and staying together for life, which is up to 20 years. These lovebirds share the same burrow, protect their eggs, and help each other in hunting. When particularly aroused during mating rituals, the mantis shrimp will start to fluoresce. This means, you guessed it, they have glow-in-the-dark sex, which more than qualifies them as an uncommon creature. I’m keeping track of all your suggestions, so if you have any unusual creatures you’d like to see doodlewashed in the future, shout them out in the comments!

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Pyrrol Red, Perylene Maroon, Cobalt Teal, Cobalt Blue, Quinacridone Gold, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Opera Rose. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

62 replies on “The Peacock Mantis Shrimp

  1. Spectacular doodlewash, Charlie – a masterpiece with all those colours! Love the turquoises toward the back/peacock end. Who would have expected such a beautiful-looking creature to be a thug!? Blimey. I shan’t pick a fight with a Peacock Mantis Shrimp. Another new one to me, though. Fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! This one is a totally thug! Always punching everything in sight. Apparently there’s another version that doesn’t punch, but stomps with the same force, so mantis shrimp are all pretty much thugs really. Definitely shouldn’t pick a fight! 😉lol Thanks Jacob!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kerfe!! 😃💕 I guess since humans only typically have 3 types of color receptive cones and these guys have 16 kinds…they (whoever they are) just did some math and lots of assuming! Lol But I don’t think anyone could get close enough to actually ask a mantis shrimp how many colors it sees without getting punched in the face!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This one is really fascinating charlie! First the doodlewash is gorgeous, but such fascinating facts. Can you even imagine being able to see 10 times for color! Lucky shrimp!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m really curious about the physics behind the punch! I have to look that up.. It may be an interesting investigation for my students! Do humans eat them? I can’t imagine trying to catch them or to cook them! Lol. And glow-in-the-dark sex sounds like fun! 😜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Humans eat everything! lol Yes, Mantis Shrimp is on the menu in some parts as a sushi topping I think. No idea how they’re caught. And yeah… the punch deserves more research… not sure of the physics on that one and my fact-finding is fast and furious! lol And yes… haha… glow-in-the-dark sex is definitely intriguing! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just did a quick search and found a scientist who is replicating the material that surround the punching club. Because it remains intact while punching, scientists are trying to create synthetic material as strong. With applications in aircraft and in body armor, looks like we can learn a lot from these color creatures. It’s amazing that they strike so quickly that the water around it actually boils! How fun!

        Liked by 1 person

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