Many Mantis Shrimp live in burrows in the sand. We swim over many every day, but never give a thought as to how these wonderful crustaceans actually go about creating their lairs. We see them in their holes, which are perfectly round, smooth sides and we rarely stop to wonder how they mange this feat.
I was lucky enough to find a small Tiger Mantis (about 20cm long) who was just starting to dig his home.
First they dig out a shallow trench, before shoving their heads into the sand and, using their legs, then start to excavated vertically downwards, While they have their heads down and are digging down, they use their tails to press around the sides of the tunnel, compacting the walls and creating the perfect cylinder.
While the tunnel is not very deep, when they bring their heads and legs back to the surface, then then pack the excavated sand around the top of the hole to stabilise it. And this process continues, with the hole getting deeper and deeper.
It really was fascinating to watch and a pleasure to see how this everyday act actually takes place.

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