MANTIS SHRIMP
Hemisquilla ensigera

Habitat: Typically found moving about on open bottom or hiding in burrows in muddy or sandy bottom.

Average adult size: Adults can grow to be 12 inches long.

Natural history: Mantis shrimp dig large burrows from 3-6 feet deep and 2-3 inches wide. The animals leave their burrows infrequently to feed. Clams, mussels and worms make up the bulk of the mantis shrimp's diet. Divers have reported hearing low, "groaning" sounds coming from mantis shrimp burrows. They may produce these sounds to attract a mate. The most amazing feature in the mantis shrimp is the "hammer-like" claw it uses to feed. It is folded back underneath its head, forming a collapsed "Z." It is reported to be one of the fastest movements in the animal kingdom. The strike has been clocked at four milliseconds. In captivity the mantis shrimp can break aquarium glass.

Range: from the Gulf of California north to Point Conception.


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