The Peacock Mantis Shrimp

Peacock Mantis Shrimp Doodlewash

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


Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Susan Feniak 7 years ago

    An all seeing, techno color, glow in the dark creature with a roving eye and a mean streak? All in one? Fascinating. Natures bounty astounds. Thanks Charlie. 🙂

  2. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    Wow, a monogamous arthropod! That’s pretty cool as is your lovely, multicolored doodlewash! <3

  3. Sabiscuit 7 years ago

    She’s adorable. Would wear that design as an earring. <3

  4. Jacob 7 years ago

    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!

    • Author

      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!!

      • Jacob 7 years ago

        Ha, imagine losing a fight to a four-inch sea creature. I’d probably have a hard time getting over that.

  5. brygydmyry 7 years ago

    What an amazing creature! I never heard of these. Thanks for the intimate details of their life!

  6. Curious to the Max 7 years ago

    The Peacock mantis shrimp
    is no wimp.
    It’s rear sways
    while the front prays
    that it’s glow
    doesn’t go.
    4 inches is enough
    to strut it’s stuff

  7. memadtwo 7 years ago

    Another amazing creature…and such a detailed rendering! It indeed glows… but how do they know how many colors it sees? (K)

    • Author

      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!

  8. Sharon Mann 7 years ago

    Incredible drawing Charlie, and I loved the narrative.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Sharon!! 😃💕 Glad you liked this… I picked this guy for the visual references alone that I found and was hoping there would be something interesting to share when I went to make a post! 😊 hehe…luckily there was!

  9. Teri C 7 years ago

    What a beauty you’ve created. Love all the colors.

    • Author

      Thanks Teri! 😃 I really think I could have used every color in my palette on this one. They’re so wild…fun to doodlewash!

  10. Cathe 7 years ago

    Wow, wow, what an extremely colorful critter and you doodlewash is fantastic Charlie!

    • Author

      Thanks so much Cathe! 😃💕 Every so often I have to break out of brown, white, and black fur and paint something exploding with color!! lol This was that day! 😊

  11. Charlie, you have found another that is new to me…..this shrimp has so many unusual talents/ skills. Thank you for sharing

  12. Jodi 7 years ago

    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!

    • Author

      Thanks Jodi!! 😃😃💕 I can’t imagine seeing this many colors… I think I’d go crazy trying to paint them all!! 😳lol

      • Jodi 7 years ago

        I know. Right!!?? 😝🎨

  13. Love the color and detail

  14. nancypshen 7 years ago

    I never knew about this mantis peacock shrimp! Thanks for sharing lovely illustration and the fact about this rare shrimp 🙂 Learn something everyday 😀

  15. Damita M-S 7 years ago

    I had not heard of this species. Thanks for the back story and I love the drawing. Thanks!

  16. Carmel Campbell 7 years ago

    I can see you publishing a book. An animal or nature book. Your illustrations and write ups are so good.

  17. I meant to add also that I could totally see this turning into an abstract painting. Really liking the colors and shapes and the pops of black & white to pop it.

  18. Amazing use of color!!

  19. Nancy 7 years ago

    OH my! A boxing shrimp that glows when it’s feeling randy! It’s quite beautiful but pretty darn strange. 🙃

  20. Rachel Murphree 7 years ago

    Charlie, this is fabulous! I love the strong colors and the details. Wow!

    • Author

      Awww thanks Rachel!! I always have to break into a little color after so many brown animals. Hehe… Glad you liked this! 😃💕

  21. Kari 7 years ago

    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! 😜

    • Author

      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! 😉

      • Kari 7 years ago

        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!

        • Author

          Oh wow!! That’s super cool, Kari!! Thanks for sharing that!! I think these creatures have a lot of secrets humans would like to get their hands on! And the videos of these guys are amazing…they’re kind of cranky! Lol

  22. Myriam (Myr's Bytes) 7 years ago

    Superb doodlewash :-)! I love their colours and their eyes are fascinating. I “met” them recently when I watched BBC’s “Great Barrier Reef”. Their punches and mating dances are quite fun to watch.

  23. artandmoondreams 7 years ago

    Stunning painting, love the detail and color variations. As usual your subject’s background is as entertaining as it is informative. Fun piece.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Haunani!! 😃💕 Glad you liked this one. It’s always fun when I get to break out lots of colors and play! Hehe

  24. FlowerAlley 7 years ago

    I love this. Biology and art are partners. Great job.

  25. […] did Charlie get those brilliant colors in his paintings of the Umbonia Spinosa and the Peacock Mantis Shrimp? Look no further than M. Graham watercolor paints.  These highly pigmented artist grade paints […]

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