Also called stomatopods, mantis shrimp average about 10cm (3.9 inches) in length.
These vibrant reef dwellers resemble a mix between a lobster’s rear and a crab’s front.
They’re thought to be older than dinosaurs, evolving nearly 400 million years ago.
More than 550 different mantis shrimp species are known today, with colours ranging from dull browns to flamboyantly colourful rainbows.
They live in burrows in the soft sand of warm, shallow saltwater pools and are known for keeping their holes meticulously clean.
They’re also fiercely territorial, emerging from their holes to surprise food and potential foes alike.
And don’t let their small size fool you. These little guys pack a mean punch — quite literally.
Depending on the exact species, they’ll either have spear-like front claws or bulbous club claws.
Either way, they can use them with deadly efficiency. Their strike has been measured at 83 km/h (51mph) and is fast enough to create vapour-filled bubbles in the surrounding water.
This can cause a shock wave that can knock out small fish and other prey!