Explore Our History
Little Shrimp, Big Trouble
Sparky: the Killer Shrimp
January 2001"Sparky" is one of two mantis shrimps that arrive as hitchhikers in a shipment of coral for the Splash Zone exhibit. Detected months later, the three-inch-long mantis shrimp is finally caught by an aquarist using kitchen tongs. This animal packs enough power in its claws to smash the shells of snails, barnacles, and hermit crabs on which it feeds. It can also deliver a painful jolt to human fingers that come too close.
"Sparky" Sparks A Media SensationThe stowaway mantis shrimp is put on display in the Kelp Lab after it is dubbed "the killer shrimp" and becomes an overnight international media sensation. The original story appears in the San Francisco Chronicle. Within days, media coverage spreads to over 200 newspapers throughout the United States and Canada. Major broadcast coverage includes CBS, CNN, NBC's Weekend Today show, as well as NPR, Voice of America and BBC World News radio programs.