Coast KZN

19 Apr 2021

Zebra mantis shrimp caught in Richards Bay

Reece Reid (Zululand Observer) Picture: The zebra mantis shrimp caught at Richards Bay Ski Boat Club

Children playing on the jetty at the Richards Bay Ski Boat Club on Monday were surprised when they caught a strange-looking crustacean, later identified as a zebra mantis shrimp. Once caught, the shrimp was moved to a bucket of seawater where it was photographed, closely examined, measured to be about 15 cm long, and then released.

The zebra mantis shrimp is usually found in East African waters, but it is uncommon for it to be found off the coast of South Africa.

Mantis shrimp are known to have large, broad eyes which provide them with excellent vision. Their eyes are divided in half, giving them binocular vision. This means they have some of the best depth perception and range-finding in the animal kingdom. Mantis shrimp are also able to perceive ten times the amount of colour that humans can, including being able to see into the ultraviolet. They can even recognise individual people.

Mantis shrimp, including the zebra mantis shrimp, are not considered to be endangered and are, in fact, considered a delicacy in many cuisines worldwide. In Vietnam and China they are boiled, grilled, steamed and fried.