Photos of odd-looking crustacean, reeled in off Florida, go viral; experts believe it’s some kind of mantis shrimp, whose remarkable power might astonish you
A Florida angler has reeled in a mysterious creature that looks to be a cross between a lobster and shrimp, and photos of this odd-looking crustacean, dangling from a fishing line, have captivated the Internet audience.
Steve Bargeron snapped the photos after watching another fisherman reel the 18-inch critter out of the water. Both had been fishing from a dock in Fort Pierce.
Another view of what’s believed to be a large mantis shrimp; photo by Steve Bargeron
Bargeron sent the images to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which on Thursday posted them on its Facebook page. By Friday morning the post had been shared nearly 3,000 times, and received hundreds of comments.
“That’s exactly why I don’t go into the ocean,” one person wrote.
The FWC did not identify the critter, but based on its appearance and Bargeron’s description—when it was pulled out of the water it was violently snapping its tail—the agency believes it’s “some type of mantis shrimp.”
If that’s true, the fisherman who caught the shrimp was smart to have grabbed it by its back, like one might grab a lobster, and fortunate not to have been injured.
The mantis shrimp is in a class of its own in terms of power. Within its shell are hinged arm-like claws, with fist-like clubs at their ends. They lash out with the speed of a .22-caliber bullet—the fastest punch in the world—and literally smash the shells of prey.
The claws can shatter clam shells, crack open crab shells, and even deliver a knockout blow to an octopus.