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Peacock Mantis Shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus)

The Peacock Mantis Shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus)


  • Common Names: Peacock Mantis Shrimp

  • Scientific Name: Odontodactylus scyllarus

  • Scientific Classification:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

SubPhylum: Crustacea

Class: Malacostraca

Order: Stomatopoda

Family: Odontodactylidae

Genus: Odontodactylus

Species: Odontodactylus scyllarus

Species Description

The Peacock Mantis Shrimp is a medium sized crustacean that ranges in size from 3 to 18 centimeters in length (1.2 to 7.1). It is known for its bright colors of greens blues and reds, they are primarily green on the abdomen while brighter reds and oranges on the legs and spots on the anterior carapace, while a bright blue is on the eyes. Females tend to be more orange red than males which are more diverse in color. Their “claws” or clubs are what define this species, these clubs are what mantis shrimp use for weapons, they can accelerate these clubs at the speed of a bullet from a .22 caliber rifle. Their eyes can see 12 different color waves the most of any animal discovered so far. They make their homes by burrowing into the ground or finding old burrows left by other animals. They exhibit complex behaiviours

  • Behavior: Peacock mantis shrimps are solitary in nature and rarely come out of their burrows

  • Size: 3-18 cm (1.2-7.1 in)

  • Color: Males are primarily green with orange red legs and blue eyes. Females are mostly orange and red.

Male Peacock mantis shrimp (left) 
Female peacock mantis shrimp (below)



  • Food web: none available but if there was one all animals would point to the mantis shrimp because its a psychotic little killing machine and anything bigger doesn’t touch it because of how crazy and fearless it is.

  • Feeding/Diet

    • Heterotroph

    • Consumer: Mantis Shrimp prey upon Crustaceans, Fish, Snails, and Clams.

  • Peacock Mantis Shrimps are at the top of their food chain, they are aggressive predators and extremely talented killers. Larger animals generally stay away from Mantis Shrimp as they are to much of a hassle to deal with.

  • Ecological pyramid/trophic pyramid


  • Size: The peacock mantis shrimp is abundant and not in any kind of danger from humans. They do not venture much outside of their burrows so their population is not entirely known but they are healthy.


  • Tropical and Shallow waters.

    • 22-25 degrees C (72-78 F)

    • Living in coral reefs mean that coral, algae, sea anemones, and sea grasses are abundant and make up most of the vegetation.

    • Animals: Tropical Fish, crustaceans, cephalopods, bivalves, sponges, urchins, sea snakes, sea turtles, starfish and more.

  • The Mantis shrimp is a top predator in its respective environment.

[Map of Peacock Mantis Shrimp habitat]


The mantis shrimp is really interesting evolutionarily but not a lot is known about them in this regard. The peacock Mantis Shrimp is part of the “smashers”classification of Mantis Shrimp because of the clubs they posses instead of claws, they have the fastest punch in the world and are able to exert 1500 newtons of force in a single punch, to put that into perspective that means a mantis shrimp punches with a force of 330 lbs. This allows them to easily break apart the hard shell of a crustacean to reach the soft tissue inside. Mantis shrimp actually punch so fast that water moves out of the way creating cavitation bubbles which can (for a split second) produce the same heat that is measured on the surface of the sun, and sometimes can create small bursts of light. Another very interesting adaptation is the eyes, their eyes are the most complex and intricate in the animal kingdom. Their compound eyes have 3 visual cones in each eye giving them sexnocular vision. Not only that, they also can view 12 different waves of light in the spectrum compared to the 3 of humans (red green blue). The true function is not completely known but it is speculated that they use them for identifying prey or coral.

They can have a very long lifespan as well living up to 15-20 years in the wild (10 in captivity) which is quite a while compared to other arthropods. When mating males and females come together and bond in a monogamous relationship where both parents will care for the offspring and may have up to 20 breeding periods over the lifetime. In general though the life cycle of mantis shrimp is not known as they remain in their burrows for most of their lives.

Peacock mantis shrimp are generally viewed two separate ways to humans, a dangerous pest or sought after pet. Many view them as a beautiful pet for their aquarium and make a nice addition. Others do not like having them in aquariums as they are voracious eaters and will consume most anything in the tank. Some larger specimens are known to break the actual glass that houses them which does not make them that favorable. Closer to the Indo-pacific area Mantis shrimp are caught for food, when cooked they are closer to that of a lobster and are harder to break open.

  • Adaptations: Eyes, smashing clubs.

  • Life cycle: not known well, lifespan of up to 20 years

  • Sexual Dimorphism: Females are mostly orange and red instead of Green orange red and blue

  • Phylogenetic Tree:  above^

  • Ancestors/Fossil Descriptions: N/A

  • Population: Abundant, yet not much is known about exact measures.

  • Interaction with Humans: Sought after as pets and food, or seen as a pest that harms the environment of an aquarium

Works Cited