Mantis Shrimp See it Both Ways
I have, in my brief discussions of mantis shrimps (known scientifically as stomatopods), discussed some rather extreme violent abilities, smashing and stabbing at the speed of a small bullet, that make them seem like rather fearsome creatures. There are some other attributes of mantis shrimps, however, that make them rather beautiful. Look into their eyes, and you will see what I mean.
Stomatopods have just two eyes, like you and me. However, unlike you and me, they are capable of performing acts of binocular vision with just one eye at a time. How is this accomplished, without two separate eyes providing slightly different images which can then be triangulated with the power of the brain?
The stomatopod’s cornea is bisected by a few rows of special sensors that detect color and polarized light. This means that one eye receives two different half signals. Furthermore, the sensory input from these two halves of the eye are processed by the nerves right at the eye itself, not at the brain. The result is that it’s not easy to sneak up on a mantis shrimp, which can rotate its eyes around independently of each other. Think of that – two separate binocular detection systems in opposite directions at the same time.
Far out… literally.
Date: October 17, 2007
Categories: Mantis Shrimp