Giant Shrimp Caught Off Florida Coast: Hoax or Cryptid?

GiantShrimp01Steve Bargeron was fishing off a dock in Fort Pierce, Florida this week when he pulled an almighty huge “shrimp” from the water. This 18 inch beast is either a hoax, or some kind of monster cryptid. CryptoVille investigates!

Steve shared his finding with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and they posted it to their Facebook page. It seems that Steve saw the 18 inch creature in the water and pulled it out by its back, similar to what one does with a live lobster. (Photo right.)

The FWS said, “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.”

Mantis shrimp are actually quite formidable animals. Let’s see what science has to say about them, including how big they normally get.

MantisShrimpMantis “Shrimp”

These little beasts (photo left) are not shrimp at all, but are part of a family of crustaceans called stomatopods.  They normally grow to about 12 inches in length, but in rare cases reach up to 15 inches. This 18 inch behemoth would be a rarity indeed, at least as far as we land-based creatures can tell.

They look like a cross between a praying mantis and a shrimp. Their large front claws, referred to as “thumb splitters” are extremely strong and can crack open the shells of their prey or tear into softer targets. Their prey includes clams, invertebrates, and some fish.

Scientists tell us that they can “fire” their appendages at 170 mph! They are fierce competitors in their little marine environments. They often live around coral reefs, rock crevices, and any shoreline debris they can find. They spend most of their time hidden away in their burrows, coming out to search for food, using their excellent eyesight to search for predators while they are exposed.

Mantis shrimp mostly live in tropical/subtropical waters, but there are some heartier varieties that can live in sub-Antarctic waters. They also come in a variety of colors.

GiantShrimp02What Does it Mean for Cryptids?

I think this find is exciting because it shows us that animals already known to science can be more diverse than we may initially think. This is especially true when we’re dealing with aquatic/marine animals. Due to our inability to get into the oceans, seas, and rivers long enough and be able to go deep enough, we can’t tell what’s really living down there. (Another view of the 18 inch “Giant Shrimp”, right.)

I think as time goes on we can expect to find a lot more exciting surprises like this mantis shrimp, especially from the ocean!

Til the next time!

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