Deadly mantis shrimp moves in at Sea Life Centre
- Credit: Norfolk Police / Photo-features.co.uk
A deadly spear-wielding tropical shrimp is the newest resident at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre. Staff have christened him Odin after the mythical Norse god whose magical spear “Gungnir” never missed its target.
The zebra mantis shrimp from the Indo Pacific has arms like two lethal lances with which he strikes faster than the human eye can follow to impale any passing fish.
Growing to 40cms (15ins), in the wild Odin would bury his zebra-striped body in the seabed in order to launch surprise attacks, dragging his victims back into his burrow to devour at leisure.
“We have made him an artificial burrow using clear plastic tube, in which he feels safe and secure but he can still be seen by our visitors,” said senior aquarist Darren Gook.
Darren and his colleagues feed Odin using tweezers to dangle tasty fish morsels for him to attack. “At first he took his food quite gingerly, but seems to have grown bolder with each meal and should soon be attacking as he would with live prey.”
Odin has his own display tank in the Centre’s ‘Dragon’s Den’ display area, featuring sea creatures from the Far East….and he has a better view of his surrounds than any other residents or any visiting humans. Not because of panoramic windows, but because a mantis shrimp’s eyes are the most complex in the animal kingdom.
“Not only can their eyes detect UV and polarised light, and many more wavelengths than we humans can, but they can also use point them in different directions,” said Darren.