This crustacean can see in two different directions at the same time. 
This crustacean can see in two different directions at the same time. 
Photograph by Geoff Spiby, Getty Images

Peacock Mantis Shrimp

A rainbow-colored crustacean skitters along the ocean floor, adding a splash of brightness to the murky setting. The animal’s narrow, hard-shelled body sports orange, green, red, and blue hues. Known as the peacock mantis shrimp, this beautiful, seven-inch-long critter looks harmless. But the marine animal packs a punch—literally.

Common Name:
Peacock Mantis Shrimp
Scientific Name:
Odontodactylus scyllarus
1.2 to 7.1 inches


Peacock mantis shrimp mostly live in shallow parts of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The crustacean spends much of its time looking for crabs and mollusks to eat. When it finds a delicious-looking snack, the animal goes into full-on boxer mode. Springing out one of its club-like front claws, the animal delivers a swift punch to its prey. The punch is 50 times faster than the blink of an eye and strong enough to break glass!

These shrimp also rely on their sparing moves to keep enemies away from burrows in the ocean floor that they use as shelters. Hovering at the opening of its burrow, a peacock mantis shrimp will strike at intruders that come too close.


The crustacean has another eye-popping feature in addition to its strong punch. Its eyes—which protrude from its head and move independently—can see in two different directions at once. They can also detect colors that humans are unable to see. It's easy to be floored by this animal's cool traits!

(Learn more about mantis shrimp at National Geographic.)