The Scary Clown of the Animal Kingdom
This colorful creature acts more like Stephen King s It than Bozo the Clown. The mantis shrimp, a predator that is neither a mantis nor a shrimp, spearsand dismembers prey with its powerful claws. Mantis shrimp are also capable of using their claws as hammers to crush snail shells, and larger species can even muster enough force to crack aquarium glass. Mantis shrimp look shrimp like, but they re actually their own subgroup of crustacean. According to new research from the University of Queensland, mantis shrimp have a unique way of seeing the world. They detect circular polarized light, a type of light beam that spirals either to the left or right. Filters in their eyes re orient this light to turn it into the linear polarized light. To the human eye, linear polarized light is only a glare, the sort that requires the need for polarized sunglasses.Researchers aren t yet sure how the mantis shrimp make use of this ability to filter circular polarized light. It s possible that this visual ability allows animals to see light patterns reflected off the shells of male animals possible courtship displays visible only to the species that needs to see them.