Scientific American translates that terrifying letter abstract about shrimp eyes from Nature into English. "The compound eye of the peacock mantis, the new study's authors found, harbors a natural quarter-wave retarder, a sort of filter that converts circularly polarized light to linearly polarized light, which then activates receptors below." (Umm. Okay. And that's good, right?) Also, the peacock mantis shrimp are very strong. They range from 3 to 18 centimeters in length, but have been known to shatter thick aquarium glass with a blow from a forelimb. Says Roy Caldwell, a University of California, Berkeley, biologist: "We have had a couple cases where animals have hit a pane of glass dead in the center and there was a massive explosion." So don't fuck with them.
Friday, October 30th, 2009