AN AMAZING FACT: The mantis shrimp is neither a mantis nor a shrimp, but derives its name from claws similar to a praying mantis and a body similar to a shrimp. These marine crustaceans, also called stomatopods, come in a variety of colors and grow to be about 12 inches long. The most colorful is the peacock mantis shrimp, with brilliant neon hues that dazzle the eye. This sea creature likes to live a solitary life, hiding in rock formations and waiting for prey to come by, though it will chase and kill for food.
The ancient Assyrians called these creatures “sea locusts.” In Australia they are referred to as “prawn killers,” but they are also called “thumb splitters” because of the nasty gash they can inflict if not handled carefully. Mantis shrimp sport powerful claws that they use to attack prey. These claws can spear or stun their victims. In fact, they are classified into two groups based on their claws. There are the “spearers” (with spiny appendages topped with barbed tips that stab and snag) and “smashers” (with a club-like claw that bludgeons their meals apart). The mantis shrimp’s claw can strike so powerfully that its speed has been compared to that of a .22-caliber bullet. A shock wave is created as well so that if the shrimp misses its target, the aftereffect can be enough to stun or kill its prey.
What literally “stands out” in the mantis shrimp is its eyes. They are considered the most complex eyes in the animal kingdom. Each eye is mounted at the end of a stalk and can move independently. Most fascinating is that this sea animal can see both polarized and hyperspectral color. Not only that, but each eye is designed to have three regions, giving the mantis shrimp the ability to see three parts of an object from a slightly different angle. In other words, they have trinocular vision out of each eye! The optics of this little crustacean is actually being studied to improve on the current generation of Blu-ray disc technology.
Jesus once spoke about improving your eyesight. Our ability to see is directly related to our hearts. In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). When we humble ourselves before God, seeking to be cleansed from sin, our eyes will be opened to see with vision that is out of this world!
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. Psalms 19:8