Physical: Mantis shrimp are flat, large-clawed shrimp with three sets of weak walking legs. They have powerful “scissor-like mandibles,” and individuals grow to an overall length of 25 cm. Mantis shrimp are not true shrimp but shrimp-like crustaceans with praying mantis-like claws.
Habitat: S. empusa hide in complex burrows, often with numerous exits. They prefer muddy substrates and can be found in subtidal areas. They are nocturnal.
Feeding: Mantis shrimp are fierce predators, eating fish, crabs, worms, and even other mantis shrimp. They spear or slice through their prey with lightning-quick movements of their powerful claws. Their claws can also hurt humans, leading to their nickname of “thumb-splitters.”
Breeding: Mantis shrimp spawn in offshore waters. Zygotes then pass through several larval development stages before reaching full adult size.