The mantis shrimp is definitely one of the most intriguing reef creatures and recent news is showing their sensitive eyes are leading researchers to uncover new ways to revolutionize communications. It seems stomatopods, who haven’t evolved too much in the last 500 million years, possess extremely complex eyes that can detect 100,000 colors. To put that in perspective, its about 10 times as many as our human eyes. Besides that, the mantis can see circular polarized light (CPL) which can’t be detected by any other living thing and this is where the communication revolution comes in. Science Daily has a write-up on the discovery of this type of vision published in Current Biology last March. Seems the stomatopods process the CPLs through specialized sight receptors in tightly-packed tubular bundles that alter the rotation of photons as they pass through. This changes the spirals of CPL into the traditional light waves of linear polarized light. Similarly, this is done in current devices called quarter-wave plates commonly fond in optical reading devices like CD players and DVD players and in satellite transmitters and other high-tech communications systems. Currently quarter-wave plates only can perceive a handful of colors. If researchers can find a way to replicate what goes on in a mantis shrimp’s eyes’ visual perception of any CPL color it would open a whole new realm of high definition communications.