Oversized Alien-Like ‘Shrimp’ Caught Off Florida Is ID’ed

Sep 6, 2014

By Elizabeth Palermo

 

It’s not every day that an ordinary fishing trip turns into an encounter with an oversized alien-like sea creature, but that’s what happened recently to one Florida fisherman.

Steve Bargeron was fishing off a dock in Fort Pierce, Florida, last week when a couple fishing nearby pulled up what Bargeron jokingly described as an “alien creature.” The couple wasn’t interested in keeping the strange, lobster-like animal, which was flopping its tail wildly, Bargeron told Live Science. So the curious fisherman took a few photos and then threw the critter back into the water.

But Bargeron’s close encounter with this strange-looking specimen isn’t really that strange after all, according to Roy Caldwell, a professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Caldwell said he saw the photos online and instantly recognized the creature as a mantis shrimp, or stomatopod, a marine crustacean commonly found in the waters off Florida.

Stomatopods are easily identified by their prominent claws, which,depending on the species, they use to either stab or smash prey, Caldwell said.

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