Shrimp do not see a kaleidoscope of colours, they are just really stupid

This article was taken from The Seahorse Report, an undersea publication run by seahorses.

The Seahorse Report

Mantis shrimp have long claimed that their visual processing capabilities outshine those of all other sea creatures. They have had us sea dwellers and our human overlords wrapped around their claws for a while, but the light of science has at last exposed their dirty little secret.

Cone photoreceptors are molecules in the retina which respond to specific wavelengths of light and allow for colour vision. Since human scientists confirmed that shrimp have 12 colour cone photoreceptors, as opposed to humans who only have three, it has been accepted with reverence that shrimp see all combinations of these 12 colours—beholding the world on a higher vibration than the rest of us sea-dwellers. Long-time readers of the Seahorse Report may remember many guest pieces written by shrimp bragging about how much acclaim they received in the human world—from pretentious Tumblr hipsters to opportunistic aquarium museum marketers. Shrimp’s big talk about novel colours they ostensibly saw, like ‘yellow 7’ and ‘purple 13,’ has also been widely publicized. 

You may be wondering—aren’t 12 photoreceptors a bit over-krill? As a humiliating 2014 study by human researchers from the University of Queensland and National Cheng Kung University confirms, mantis shrimp do not have 12-dimensional vision. Shrimp have been playing 12-dimensional chess trying to suppress this knowledge from reaching the marine community. The Seahorse Report finally brings you the truth: These simpletons can only see 12 colours. Total.  

When shrimp were tested on their ability to tell two colours apart, they performed surprisingly poorly, only recognizing a difference between colours with a large gap in wavelengths. Basically, they could only see 12 colours and were unable to differentiate between shades 25 nanometres apart. That is all their puny invertebrate brains are capable of.  

Members of the marine community were not impressed.

“I have long suspected that something was off when I was seeking an intellectually stimulating play-partner and invited a group of shrimp to race through some coral reef mazes together,” Octopus Rex said. “The blank look in their eyes told me everything I needed to know.”

Sympathetic perspectives seemed to only come with ulterior motives.

“There are no limits to the possibilities of consciousness,” Orca said, cleaning her teeth with her tongue. “The fragmented vision of shrimp is surely a psychosomatic symptom of the fragmentation of their spiritual being. To evolve their vision they need to do some serious meditation, get in tune with their astrological charts, and perhaps try some essential oils. I offer my services for free and will personally guide each and every shrimp on their way to enlightenment, and fuller vision. They know where to find me, no appointment needed.”  

Even on land, where they are turned into cooking stock for paellas and risottos, shrimp have become a laughing stock.

“Wow shrimp,” whistled Shiba Inu hysterically. “Such powerful brain, much ability!”

“After an all-nighter of painting my senior project, I think I can also only see 12 colours,” grumbled Owl, U2 Arts. “Maybe it should be a proper term – shrimped.”

We sent the shrimp a letter requesting comment, but they may have struggled to distinguish the colour of the paper from the colour of the ink.

Shrimp have shown that they are prawn to deceit. Your loyal servants at the Seahorse Report are gifted with the truly impressive ability to move our own eyes independently in all directions and use them to keep watch for any marine malarky.  

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