Mantis shrimp setae

Seen here is a photograph of the mantis shrimp (stomatopod) Odontodactylus scyllarus, a predatory tropical marine crustacean. The two oval-shaped "Dumbo ear" structures attached to its head are called antennal scales. They are composed of a flat lamina of cuticle surrounded by a fringe of red setae (hair-like structures). Interestingly, if one zooms in on these hairs, they bear a remarkable resemblance to bird feathers. A single hair actually has tiny hairs branching off of it, and the secondary hairs bear their own set of accessory hairs! It is not clear what function these antennal scale setae may have, if they have a function at all. Besides possible mechano- and chemo-receptive roles, I would be interested in exploring their potential hydrodynamic roles during fast burst swimming in Odontodactylid stomatopods (manuscript in press, to be discussed soon).

Stomatopod photograph by Jens Peterson

Micrographs by Eric Octavio Campos


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