This close-up photo of the face of a Peacock Mantis Shrimp has always fascinated me. I love the colors of the shrimp and the detail in the compound eyes. I took this photo while night diving a shallow reef in Alotau, Papua New Guinea. I spent close to an hour watching this Mantis Shrimp scurry about the bottom in search of prey. Many times it would crawl within an inch of my lens. The Mantis Shrimp uses its front appendages called "dactyl clubs" to pummel its prey. These dactyl clubs can spring forth faster than a 22 caliber bullet and literally causes a shock wave that boils the water. Their vision is unparalleled. The peacock mantis shrimp has the most complex set of eyes in the animal kingdom, with each eye containing 12 photo receptors, in comparison, we typically have 3. This allows them to see the world in a rainbow of colors we can't even comprehend. They are one of the only creatures capable of seeing polarized light and can communicate with each other using colors no other creature can see. They appeared on the scene about 400 million years ago. Needless to say, I love everything about them! To me, this photo looks like the face of a creature from another world. I can't help but stare at it and wonder what its thinking as it looks directly at me with the most penetrating eyes I have ever seen.
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