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Mantis shrimp’s bizarre visual system may save brainpower

Crustacean uses complex eyes to perceive color in way unlike any other animal’s

3:19pm, January 23, 2014

THE EYES HAVE IT  The mantis shrimp sees colors in a way that fundamentally differs from other animals’ color vision, a new study suggests.

No one can deny that the mantis shrimp is special. The charismatic crustacean looks like a walking Mardi Gras parade and hammers its enemies so fast that water boils. Now scientists have added another distinction: The mantis shrimp has a really strange way of seeing colors.  

People and other animals perceive a palette of colors by blending and comparing signals from a few types of color-sensing eye cells called photoreceptors. In contrast, the mantis shrimp sees each color separately with one of a dozen kinds of specialized cells, scientists suggest in the Jan. 24 Science.

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