Storms raise rare vis­i­tor from depths

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile -

Ares­i­dent of Dun­geness picked up two man­tis shrimps off Great­stone beach near the Pi­lot pub over the Christ­mas and New Year hol­i­day.

They are fas­ci­nat­ing crea­tures, but not seen very of­ten as they live in bur­rows on the seabed be­yond the lowtide mark. They are not found in rock pools, so it is re­ally only af­ter strong gales that you might come across them, as the odd one might get washed up on the tide­line.

They are very dis­tinc­tive, be­ing about 5-10cm long with large man­tis-like pin­cers that are used to grab, spear or club prey as they wait in their bur­rows.

The power of this punch from the pin­cers is so quick and pow­er­ful, it is mea­sured as the equiv­a­lent of the ve­loc­ity of a bul­let fired from a gun.

The crea­tures’ eye­sight is also in­cred­i­bly com­plex.

In re­cent years, oc­ca­sional in­di­vid­u­als have been washed up on the beach around Dun­geness, where they tend to be found by an­glers or bait dig­gers. But the man­tis shrimp’s need for sandy seabeds and its ex­clu­sive ma­rine life­cy­cles mean it is dif­fi­cult to mon­i­tor them or gauge how rare or abun­dant they are around the Kent coast.

For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact Owen Leyshon, Rom­ney Marsh Coun­try­side Part­ner­ship, by phon­ing 01797 367934, email­ing mail@rmcp. or vis­it­ing www.rmcp.

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