Shrimp Colors Are a Lie
Well, lie is a bit of a strong word, but scientists have known since 2014 that those special colors that mantis shrimp can see actually Aren’t A Thing.
Mantis shrimp (which aren’t a shrimp but a “stomatopod” which are more closely related to krill) have 12 types of color receptors in their eyes compared to our measly 3 receptors. We used to think this meant they could see a whole range of dazzling colors beyond our comprehension.
Some people were (rightfully) jealous.
However, it turns out that mantis shrimp probably have so many color receptors because they don’t blend colors the way we do. When you look at something purple, your red and blue receptors are strongly stimulated while your green receptors are not and your brain synthesizes this information into purple. When a mantis shrimp looks at something purple, they have a specific purple receptor that is stimulated.
Why this weird system? Probably because it is faster and more efficient. Mantis shrimp need to distinguish between prey species and react extremely quickly (some species can punch 50x faster than the blink of an eye), so they don’t have time to do the mental calculations to blend colors.
Not only is the Forbidden Shrimp Color Knowledge a sham, but mantis shrimp can actually see fewer colors than we can because they can’t distinguish as many shades between colors. They also can’t see those cursed Imaginary Colors.
Images Sources (1) (2) (3)
33K notes · View notes