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Behold.... the mantis shrimp!

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  1. I love The Oatmeal. According to wikipedia, it is edible... for stuff like sushi or eaten like regular shrimp http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantis_s...

    1. I have seen them caught on fishing trips. They get snagged on a hook, accidentally.

      Someone always thinks they are faster or doesn't believe it will hurt gets hit.

      1. What a complicated creature of the deep! Although the wiki article says their flesh is more like lobster than shrimp I'm not so sure I'd eat one...

        1. They're quite a delicacy. More about them in these Hong Kong posts,

          1. They look cool to me. Anybody gotta recipe?

            1. The are amazing animals - and so like any good human, I ate it. Ironic but true.

              I had them in tahiti, so yes they are edible. I think they were called varo there. I almost didn't eat it because it looked like a giant praying mantis on my plate and while I like to be adventurous I just wasn't sure. And since I had never really heard of varo I wasn't sure if the locals were playing a trick on me and saying it was a shrimp just so I'd eat it.

              But it was really good and I'm told a bit of a pain to catch so was quite nice of them to offer us them to eat.

              1. My Uncle is a microbiologist and Professor of Microb and has been studying the mantis shrimp for decades. Fascinating bug.

                They are enjoyed all over the world; sushi, boiled, etc.

                1. Some of the Asian markets near me carry them live. Round these parts I've mainly heard them referred to as 攋尿蝦, aka "pissing shrimp."

                  1. Would have made a great subject for a Leroy Neiman painting...

                    1 Reply
                    1. I had mantis shrimp a few years back at Fuleen in Manhattan's Chinatown. Here's the old discussion thread:


                      1. I've had them a few times, both frozen and live. There is not much meat on them, even though they seem pretty large. What little bit there is tastes good, and is more like lobster than shrimp. What is disconcerting is that they don't turn red when cooked, at least the ones I had. The main problem with that is that it makes them easier to overcook, as they don't clearly show that they are done.

                        1. very edible -- and I'd gladly pay someone else to catch the nasty little bastards.

                          I've been rushed by one when diving -- that sonic boom isn't fatal to humans, but it's definitely a loud crack!

                          I've also seen a few people with some pretty vicious scars -- those front claws are powerful and will give you a nasty cut.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: sunshine842

                            And shit like that is why you will NEVER catch me going diving.

                            1. re: juliejulez

                              meh - sharks, barracuda, sting rays -- if you behave yourself when you're visiting their house, they usually leave you alone.

                              The mantis shrimp was funny, though -- this small creature putting up a brave face against three divers, each several hundred times his body size. His cocky attitude was, however, enough to convince me to not screw around with him.

                            2. The mantis shrimp is very common in Italy under the name pannocchia (also the word for ear of corn) or canocchia, in some areas. We used to have a friend who would bring them to Rome from his hometown on the Adriatic. He and my husband would cook them in a pan, I think with some tomatoes, and we would have to eat them straight from the shell, which is murder. The flesh is very tender and sweet, and they overcook in an instant. You have to rip off their buggy-looking heads, then squeeze out the meat like toothpaste while you sort of suck. This is made more difficult by the spiky protuberances along both sides that lacerate your mouth. Fancy restaurants cut the shells and sometimes even remove them, which is a blessing.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mbfant

                                Yes! I've enjoyed these a lot in Italy, especially Venice. Very sweet tasting, as said above.

                              2. Love the Oatmeal thanks for posting

                                1. These things are mean and dangerous, and if you only have 1or 2, not worth the effort. So I am looking forward to seeing them as an ingredient on Chopped or Iron Chef America. Not!

                                  The next trendy food. Another obscure denizen of the ocean that is considered trash to become a must have on the menu. Remember when monkfish was used as a filler for lobster. Rock shrimp not even worth hauling back to the dock. Catfish and redfish were not allowed in any place that considered itself a restaurant. And let us not even start about shark.

                                  I wonder when we will have a Mantis shrimp season in Florida. Probably during snowbird season.

                                    1. "Shako" in Japanese. They are a standard sushi item. The meat is poached and is good but is an unfortunate color gray. The sashimi though is very good but you don't see it too often....I saw a great hour-long documentary on them sometime in the last year. Might have been on one of the Discovery networks...I've never seen them while diving. That would be awesome though.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Silverjay

                                        They're prolific around the tropics. If you have the eye of a macro-lens photographer, you'll probably see them on more dives than not.

                                        1. re: Silverjay

                                          "They are a standard sushi item" ...
                                          Well, not here in NYC. Although Ichimura did it straight up, w/ eggs, last spring.

                                          Here's an Italian prep you're not likely to see in this, oh-so-loco-vore town ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qQyIy...

                                          If you dive and want "awesome", check these beauties out ... http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=n...

                                        2. Oddly/ironically enough the tv show is on now. NatGeo Wild "Killer Shrimp", they are cool.

                                          1. The first and only thing out of my fiance's mouth while I marveled at this glorious beast...
                                            "what color is it when it's cooked?"


                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: CarmenR

                                              It sounds like *HE* is the Chowhound.


                                            2. Ounce for ounce, the baddest-ass mofo around the reef.

                                              7 Replies
                                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                                I don't know. I've been attacked a few times by triggerfish. They are some real ornery fuckers if you get around their egg mounds or whatever. Got clipped on the side of my mask once a ways back. They can crack open shells with their teeth. I've heard they are good eating though, but have never had them myself. Clownfish can get defensive as well, but who would go and eat lil' Nemo?

                                                1. re: Silverjay

                                                  Man, when I was pullin' traps, I almost had a lobster take off a finger. I'm pretty sure that I'd take a sharp nip from a little guy that I can stitch up, over havin' to pack a thumb in ice and rush to the hospital to have it reattached.

                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                    Titan triggers are 2-3 ft long. Generally speaking, when you are 30 meters under water, breathing through a device, and hovering around a coral reef with lots of sharp things and spiny critters of varying degrees of toxicity, you do not want your head or face attacked nor do you want to lose your mask in the process.

                                                    1. re: Silverjay

                                                      I'm pretty sure a titan would take a finger with a bite and a few twists. It would definitely make short course of a regulator hose.

                                                  2. re: Silverjay

                                                    So many reef dwellers are territorial, and many have the ability to deliver toxins or bite. But the mantis shrimp, as small as it is, has practically no predators - it's so well-equipped and just too high-risk/low return. Triggers - full-grown - have very strong beaks but usually are aloof unless they are protecting their nests as you point out - I think it's the males. But if a mantis shrimp had smacked your mask, you'd probably be feel the shock throughout your head. They are an all-or-nothing hitter. Mantis shrimps are known to kill aquarium-sized fish - including triggers and tangs.

                                                    What led me to diving was a "reef" aquarium I maintained back in the 80s. I purchased some "live rock" (coral substrate) from the local saltwater aquarium store. They forewarned me that certain worms and mantis shrimp that can prey on desirable organisms usually hide in the nooks and holes of the substrate, and that I should actively keep an eye out and "extract" them whenever possible. Sure enough, there was a mantis shrimp - little guy was just over an inch long. I could hear it at various times (loud snapping noise, shell debris) but I only saw it out at night - fleeting glimpses of it scurrying across the coral. I finally figured out what hole it resided in and laid in wait. After several attempts over several nights of attempting to grab it with a pair of forceps, I finally caught it, but it put up a pretty good fight, smacking the forceps several times before I dispatched it. I could feel the strength of its hits through the vibrations on the metal handles. It surprised me at how loud and strong the hits were. I figured if a little bugger like this could be so strong, what would a full-grown foot-long be like?

                                                    1. re: bulavinaka

                                                      Mantis shrimp on the reef may have no predators, but our local Long Island mantis shrimp are a favorite food of anything that swims. I've seen some beauties in bluefish bellies.

                                                    2. re: Silverjay

                                                      triggers are really good eating -- but they're an utter pain in the ass to clean -- their skin is like shoe leather, so you end up with a few rather small (if tasty) tattered pieces of meat.

                                                      Not worth it at the end of the day.