Mantis shrimp are known to have one of the ocean’s fastest hits. Of the more than 450 species discovered, the Odontodactylus scyllarus is of special interest to scientists, and not precisely because of its strong muscles but because of its spectacular eyes.
This marine animal is about 15 centimeters, and unlike many species, their eyes have a range of unprecedented move in three degrees of freedom: rotation, tilt and twist. More details were published in Proceedings of the Royal Society.
“His eyes are constantly moving up, down, side to side, ” said Ilse Daly, a researcher at the University of Bristol (UK). He added that his vision could also give this animal certain advantages, compared to the fixed vision of the other species of crustaceans.
These shrimp have three pseudo-pupils, one on top of the other. Each eye has the ability to look at a different depth. In addition, they can perceive a spectrum of light broader than that of the human being, from ultraviolet wavelengths to infrared. Also, while mammals have only three types of photoreceptor cells, these animals use a dozen.
The way he uses these pseudo-pupils is also amazing. Evaluate your environment in the same way you would a scanner with a photograph: detect a band of color, move your pseudo-pupils, and repeat.
A peculiar characteristic
The study on this occasion focuses on the movement of the eyes of the mantis shrimp and how they observe the world. For this, the scientists built a tank with high-speed cameras to record the movements of the eyes of these animals.
According to The Washington Post, in a test they made the shrimp feel like it was in a tunnel thanks to a kind of drum. They turned the drum and waited for the shrimp to stabilize their gaze. The rotation is not like that of a carousel, but the walls rotate on the head and under your feet. This, in humans, can cause a sensation of vertigo.
The scientists expected the shrimp to turn their eyes to maintain a stable view, however, this was not what happened. In many cases, “his eyes went contrary to the spin of the drum,” Daly said. This suggests that the orientation of his eyes “does not seem to have any relation to his perception of space.”
A possible explanation
“It is possible that mantis shrimp simply do not have a real idea of how the world presents itself,” said Thomas Cronin, a biologist at the University of Maryland (USA) who has studied the vision of mantis shrimp since 1983 but did not participate. in the study. Maybe the vision of the shrimp works better when it is stable. This could be evidenced when he has the need to save his life by running on the ocean floor.
Despite working for years with these shrimp, Daly says that “the more you look at them, the stranger they become”.
At the bottom of the ocean, we can find the strangest creatures that can be seen on our planet. A few weeks ago, the behavior of an octopus from the depths went viral when they threw a tantrum after losing a fight with another specimen of the same species. And in addition, it was possible to capture on video how the most horrible creatures in the depths practice sex.