Hurricane Ian Brings Dangerous Mantis Shrimp And Maxing Surf To Miami - Stab Mag

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Hurricane Ian Brings Dangerous Mantis Shrimp And Maxing Surf To Miami

12-foot waves and bloodthirsty shrimp in Florida? The end may be nigh.

elsewhere // Oct 1, 2022
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Heavy scenes in Florida this week, with Category 4 Hurricane Ian making landfall and demolishing much of the Sunshine State. In addition to extreme flooding, high winds, and general destruction, Ian has brought lots of swell and — allegedly — mantis shrimp to Miami’s surf lineups.

What are mantis shrimp? Well, they look more like lobsters than shrimp, and they pack a nasty punch. The nastiest, in fact. The mechanics of the ancient marine predator’s “punch” have fascinated scientists for decades, as it is purportedly the strongest strike in the animal kingdom. With the release of a unique latching mechanism, mantis shrimp can club or spear prey with a force of around 1,500 Newtons— similar to a bullet from a .22 caliber rifle.

If a human could do that, they’d be able to punch through steel.

With 16 photoreceptors, mantis shrimp also have arguably the animal kingdoms most complex visual system, which can perceive spectrums of colors far beyond what the human eye can see. Also, in consistency with their sci-fi abilities, they look like something George Lucas might imagine were he on a hefty dose of hallucinogens.

Smug little fella, aint he? Photo: Akron Zoo

Are they aggressive? Well, yes. Floridian fisherman have been known to fear mantis shrimp, and if they manage to land a punch on a human, they can leave a deep laceration, potentially causing significant tissue damage.

Normally, these creatures live in underwater burrows or dead coral, far away from human interaction. However, with the very irregular amount of swell, wind, and mayhem brought by Hurricane Ian, they have allegedly been seen floating through Miami surf lineups.

According to a report from Axios Miami:

A South Beach surfer warned on social media Wednesday that mantis shrimp were found as the hurricane plowed through the area.

If you’re surfing South Beach, be careful as there are a lot of large mantis shrimp floating around due to the storm,” the surfer’s Instagram post read. He did not immediately return a call from Axios.

Were the waves worth potentially losing a finger? Well, they were large, especially by Floridian standards. Wave quality is relative, but if we lived somewhere that gets surfable as infrequently as Miami we probably would’ve had a dig.

We haven’t heard any reports of mantis shrimp casualties, but with another swell potenitally bearing down on America’s southeastern step-child, we wouldn’t rule it out.

Be careful out there folks.

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