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This Shrimp Species Can Dead-Lift Giant Starfish

The harlequin shrimp loves eating the tiny tube feet of starfish. But in order to eat them, it has to flip the starfish over — a tough task for a shrimp.


Harlequin shrimp are probably the fanciest shrimp in the sea, even though they’ve got stiff competition. (Yes, we’re talking about you, mantis shrimp. Yake your food with your super-powerful jaws and let the harlequin shrimp get its 15 minutes.)

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Harlequin shrimp may make fewer headlines than their mantis cousins, but they’re no less beautiful. Harlequins are a pearly-white color with large, light blue spots, and they use their giant large claws just for show. (We’re still looking at you, mantis shrimp; not everything needs to be violent!)

But while its massive claws don’t actually kill anything, the harlequin shrimp has a taste for prey around seven times its size, Wired’s Matt Simon reports. The harlequin shrimp actually loves eating the tiny tube feet of starfish, which are far easier to nibble on than the echinoderm’s tough exterior.

Harlequin Shrimp Eating Starfish

But in order to eat tube feet, the harlequin shrimp has to flip the starfish over — not an easy task for a shrimp.

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The scrappy little fellows still manage to do it, though it takes a few minutes.

Once the heavy, five-pointed prey is on its back, it’s time to feast. And they do it all without getting a spot out of place.

Scientists continually go gaga over the seemingly invincible characteristics of the mantis shrimp — from its colossal punch to its kaleidoscopic colors — but it looks like it's time to start studying its more demure cousin.

 

Check our article: Feather Starfish Looks Too Magical

 

Learn about how you can help vulnerable marine animals by signing up with Oceana.

 

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