What Superpower Would You Wish For?…Duh, Shrimp-Vision

Weird Shrimp Has Astounding Vision

I was watching a National Geographic documentary today about the sea, and it mentioned that mantis shrimp have the most complex vision system of any known animal. I was curious and looked up an article about it. Mantis shrimp can see colors from ultraviolet to infrared, as well as polarized light! Animals had been known to use linear polarized light for “feeding, fighting, fleeing, or flirting,” but mantis shrimp can reflect circular polarized light too. Being able to measure linear and circular polarization simultaneously is unique to the mantis shrimp. Apparently, favorite prey of the mantis are transparent, but full of polarizing sugars that most likely “light up” when the shrimp use their super vision. I thought some of the concepts in the article would be easier to understand with a video, so I looked one up on youtube. I think this video does a good job explaining what the article was trying to convey, but it was a little choppy on my computer. That might have just been my computer, but regardless it’s only 5 minutes long and well worth a watch.

I like that the shrimp can move their eyes independently of each other. It looks weird at first, but it’s really neat. Additionally, the video goes into all the technology advances that are developed by using knowledge from mantis shrimp vision, such as 3D glasses, satellite imaging, or DVD technology. I just find it mind-boggling that these little creatures can have such a developed vision system. Humans see only three colors in the spectrum, whereas mantis shrimp see twelve! That is mind-blowing enough, but I think the real crazy part is that ONE THIRD of the human brain is devoted solely to vision in some form or another. 1/3!!! And these little critters with almost no brain have a vastly better vision system than we do. I don’t know about you, but I think that is pretty fascinating.

Mantis Shrimp. Wiki Commons: Silke Baron

Mantis Shrimp. Wiki Commons: Silke Baron

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