Florida is known for its share of animals and geographical formations, ranging from invasive pythons in the Everglades to sinkholes swallowing entire tracts of housing.
But some fishermen topped even that with the accidental harvesting of something most likely known as a mantis shrimp, but more resembling an alien. It comes to us courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which posted the photos on its Facebook page with the opening salvo, “Who you calling a ‘shrimp’?”
The state agency then explains that “Steve Bargeron was fishing from a dock in Fort Pierce as he watched a fellow fisherman pull this creature out of the water. Steve said the massive thing was about 18 inches long and striking its own tail, so he grabbed it by its back like a lobster. Scientists think it may be some type of mantis shrimp (which are actually not related to shrimp, but are a type of crustacean called a stomatopod), and continue to review the photos to identify the exact species.”
The best guesses are something called a scaly-tailed mantis shrimp, described to TMI perfection by the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce, or something called Lysiosquilla scabricauda.
According to Deadspin, which flagged the fiendish find, “a cursory Google search reveals that mantis shrimps are badass,” and unearths a video of one of the animals chowing down, in slo-mo. And, because we don’t already have enough to keep us awake at night, there’s more.
“These types of crustaceans have eyes on stalks that can move independently of one another,” the Florida conservation commission helpfully informs us.
As if we wanna know.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission/Steve Bargeron