A fisherman caught a giant shrimp in Fort Pierce, Florida. The unidentified man was fishing off a dock when he hooked the unusual creature. Steve Bargeron witnessed the incident and took several stunning photos. A representative with The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed the shrimp was approximately 18 inches long.
Although the species was not confirmed, biologists believe the creature is a Mantis shrimp. As indicated by its name, the crustacean closely resembles a shrimp. However, common shrimp are classified as decapods. Mantis shrimp are actually stomatopods — which are not shrimp.
UCMP reports that stomatopods are generally found along the shoreline in tropical and subtropical regions. Because they are nocturnal, Mantis shrimp rarely leave their burrows during the day. At night, the voracious predators hunt.
As indicated in Bargeron’s photos, the Florida fisherman caught the giant shrimp-like creature at night. Therefore, it was likely hunting for food.
With an impressive set of maxillipeds, or clawed appendages, the Mantis shrimp stabs and crushes its prey. The crustaceans generally feed on cnidarians, molluscs, and fish. However, they have been known to eat other crustaceans.
Interestingly, Mantis shrimp also prey on the blue-ring octopus — which is one of the most deadly sea creatures in the world.
As discussed by the Chesapeake Bay Program, adult Mantis shrimp are usually between 8 and 10 inches long. The largely translucent creatures are usually tinted green and have “emerald green eyes.”
The name “mantis” refers to two large claws, which resemble the fore-limbs of a praying mantis. In addition to the more prominent claws, Mantis shrimp have four smaller pairs of clawed appendages. The maxillipeds are primarily used to capture and kill prey. However, they also assist in building complex burrows.
According to reports, the Florida fisherman’s giant shrimp-like creature was somewhat aggressive. Bargeron said the Mantis shrimp attempted to strike him with its tail. However, “he grabbed it by its back like a lobster” before anyone was harmed.
Unfortunately, the identity of the Florida fisherman and the current location of his unusual catch are unknown. The information and photos were presented to the the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission by Bargeron.
Biologists are currently studying the photos to determine whether the crustacean is in fact a Mantis shrimp.
It is unclear what happened to the fisherman or his giant shrimp-line creature. However, he can certainly be proud of the interesting an unusual catch.
[Images via Facebook]