Can you eat peacock mantis?

Quick Answer

Peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus) are edible and considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, however there are some safety concerns regarding consuming them raw or undercooked. While they can be eaten, peacock mantis shrimp require proper handling and thorough cooking to avoid potential foodborne illnesses. Their hard exoskeletons also make eating them whole challenging. Peacock mantis are better suited for dishes where their meat can be extracted and cooked thoroughly.

Are Peacock Mantis Shrimp Edible?

Yes, peacock mantis shrimp are edible and consumed in many parts of the world. They are especially popular in Southeast Asian cuisine and commonly eaten in countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Some key points on the edibility of peacock mantis shrimp:

– Their meat is sweet and resembles lobster or shrimp in taste when cooked properly. It has a firm texture and is considered a delicacy.

– The edible parts are the abdominal muscles or tail meat. The hard shell and head are usually discarded.

– They need to be cooked thoroughly before eating to kill any bacteria or parasites. Raw or undercooked mantis shrimp can pose safety risks.

– The meat spoils quickly so they are best when extremely fresh. Many local fishermen will cook them immediately after capture.

– Large adults can be challenging to eat whole. The tail meat is often extracted and used in various dishes. Smaller juveniles can sometimes be cooked and eaten whole.

So in summary, yes peacock mantis are edible, but need proper handling and cooking to maximize flavor and avoid any health risks. Their sweet meat is prized in many Asian cuisines when prepared properly.

Are Peacock Mantis Shrimp Safe to Eat Raw?

No, peacock mantis shrimp should never be consumed raw. As with any seafood, raw or undercooked peacock mantis shrimp contain bacteria and parasites that can cause foodborne illnesses.

Here are some key reasons raw peacock mantis shrimp are unsafe:

– They naturally contain bacteria like Vibrio, Salmonella, and E. coli that can contaminate the meat and cause serious gastrointestinal illness if ingested raw.

– Parasites like nematodes, trematodes, copepods, and isopods can infect the meat and cause parasitic infections when consumed raw or undercooked.

– Proper handling and cooking to an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C) is required to kill harmful bacteria and parasites.

– Cases of food poisoning have been linked to consuming raw or undercooked mantis shrimp. Abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are common symptoms.

– They deteriorate quickly after capture, so raw mantis are often from questionable sources and prone to spoilage.

– Preparing raw mantis also risks cross-contaminating surfaces and utensils with bacteria.

The risks outweigh any benefits of consuming these shrimp raw. Their natural biology as crustaceans that scavenge on the sea floor exposes them to bacteria and parasites unsafe for raw consumption. Always cook peacock mantis thoroughly before eating.

What Do Peacock Mantis Shrimp Taste Like?

Peacock mantis shrimp have a distinct sweet, seafood flavor when cooked properly. Their meat is most often compared to lobster, shrimp, and crab in terms of taste and texture.

Here are some details on the taste profile of cooked peacock mantis:

– Their flavor is described as sweet and mild, without any fishiness. The sweetness comes from naturally high levels of glycogen in their meat.

– The texture is quite firm with a snap to it like lobster or shrimp. When cooked right, the meat is moist and not chewy.

– Smaller juveniles tend to be sweeter in taste before maturing. Larger adults over 5 inches long can have a more robust flavor.

– Cooking method strongly impacts the taste. Grilling, stir-frying, or steaming helps bring out the natural sweetness.

– Seasonings like garlic, lemon, herbs, and spices complement the flavor profile nicely in dishes.

– The edible abdominal muscle meat is the tastiest part. The rest of the body and head is much less palatable.

– Freshness is key, as the meat will start deteriorating and spoiling quickly after the mantis is caught.

So in summary, peacock mantis shrimp have a mildly sweet taste reminiscent of lobster or shrimp, with a firm texture when cooked properly. Their unique flavor profile makes them a tropical seafood delicacy.

Are Peacock Mantis Shrimp Healthy to Eat?

Yes, peacock mantis shrimp can be a healthy seafood option when handled and prepared properly. Their meat provides beneficial nutrition including high-quality protein, essential vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants.

Some key health benefits of eating peacock mantis shrimp:

– Excellent source of lean protein needed for muscle growth and tissue repair. Contains all essential amino acids.

– Rich in vitamins like B12, niacin, and selenium that support nerve function, DNA synthesis, and thyroid health.

– Provides minerals like zinc, copper, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus that play diverse roles in the body.

– Contains astaxanthin and other antioxidants that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

– Low in mercury and considered a sustainable fishery with less contamination risk.

Potential drawbacks:

– High cholesterol content, so intake should be limited for those with heart disease risk.

– Foodborne illness risk from bacteria and parasites if undercooked or handled improperly.

– Allergies to crustaceans like shrimp and lobster may preclude eating them.

Overall, peacock mantis shrimp can be a nutritious occasional part of a balanced diet when properly cooked. Their high protein and vitamin content provide solid nutrition. Moderation is key, and following safe preparation methods minimizes any potential downsides.

How to Properly Prepare and Cook Peacock Mantis Shrimp

To safely enjoy peacock mantis shrimp, proper handling and thorough cooking are crucial:

– Purchase live or freshly killed specimens still in their shells. Avoid peacock mantis that appear damaged or foul-smelling.

– Store briefly refrigerated at 40°F max and cook within 12 hours of capture or purchase for best quality. Discard any dead mantis.

– Wash hands, prep surfaces, and utensils thoroughly before and after handling raw mantis to prevent bacterial cross-contamination.

– Carefully remove the head and shell to extract the abdominal muscle meat. Rinse the meat gently under cold water.

– Marinate the meat in an acidic ingredients like lemon, lime, or vinegar to help firm the texture.

– Cook the meat to an internal temperature of at least 145°F (63°C). Frying, grilling, steaming, or boiling are good cooking methods.

– Discard any parts that remain slimy or soft after thorough cooking. The meat should be opaque and firm when properly cooked through.

Following safe seafood practices strictly when preparing peacock mantis shrimp helps reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. Their unique flavors and textures make them worth the extra care.

5 Tasty Peacock Mantis Shrimp Recipes

Here are 5 delicious recipes for cooking peacock mantis shrimp:

1. Garlic Butter Peacock Mantis Shrimp

– 12 peacock mantis shrimp, peeled and deveined
– 3 tablespoons butter
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
– 1 teaspoon paprika
– Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the mantis shrimp and season with paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side until opaque. Remove shrimp from pan and toss with parsley. Serve warm with the garlic butter sauce.

2. Coconut Curry Peacock Mantis

– 1 lb peacock mantis shrimp, peeled and deveined
– 1 onion, diced
– 1 bell pepper, sliced
– 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
– 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
– 1 tablespoon fish sauce
– Juice and zest of 1 lime
– Fresh basil and cilantro

Instructions: Sauté onion, pepper, and curry paste over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add coconut milk and simmer 5 minutes. Add mantis shrimp and cook for 3 more minutes until opaque. Remove from heat and add fish sauce, lime juice, lime zest, basil, and cilantro. Serve over rice.

3. Crispy Peacock Mantis Spring Rolls

– 8 peeled, cooked peacock mantis shrimp, cut into pieces
– 8 rice paper spring roll wrappers
– 1 cup julienned carrots
– 1 cup bean sprouts
– Fresh mint, cilantro, basil
– Fish sauce

Instructions: Dip rice paper briefly in water to soften. Place shrimp, mint, cilantro, basil, carrots, and bean sprouts on paper. Fold both sides inward then tightly roll the wrapper. Deep fry spring rolls until crispy golden brown. Serve with fish sauce for dipping.

4. Peacock Mantis Ceviche
– 1 lb peeled peacock mantis shrimp, chopped
– 1 red onion, diced
– 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
– 1 avocado, cubed
– 1 jalapeño, sliced
– Juice of 3 limes
– Juice of 2 oranges
– 1 cup cilantro, chopped
– Tortilla chips

Instructions: Combine all ingredients except tortilla chips in a non-reactive bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, stirring occasionally until shrimp is opaque. Serve shrimp ceviche chilled with tortilla chips.

5. Peacock Mantis and Vegetable Skewers

– 12 peeled, deveined peacock mantis shrimp
– 12 cherry tomatoes
– 12 button mushrooms
– 1 red bell pepper, cut into squares
– 1 zucchini, sliced into rounds
– Olive oil, salt, pepper

Instructions: Thread shrimp, tomatoes, mushrooms, bell pepper, and zucchini pieces alternately onto skewers. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until vegetables are charred and shrimp are opaque. Serve with rice pilaf or quinoa.

Where to Buy Peacock Mantis Shrimp

Fresh peacock mantis shrimp can be purchased through these sources:

– Asian supermarkets and specialty seafood markets, especially in areas with large Southeast Asian populations.

– Fresh seafood counters at large grocery stores may carry them seasonally where available.

– Local fish markets and docks in coastal regions where peacock mantis are fished commercially.

– Directly from the boat of local fishermen in tropical areas who catch them.

– Online ordering through reputable seafood purveyors and home delivery services.

– High-end restaurants that feature them on seasonal menus.

– Local farmers markets and seafood swaps in Hawaii, Florida, and the Gulf Coast where recreationally harvested.

Key tips when buying:

– Look for plump shrimp with bright, undamaged shells. Avoid any with cuts, cracks, or foul odors.

– Ensure they are fresh and recently caught, which may require asking staff at markets.

– Purchase live specimens when possible, which are the highest quality option.

– Let venue know if you only want a specific size class for your recipe needs.

– Have seafood market staff properly clean, peel, and devein them for you if desired.

Seek out peacock mantis at specialty seafood suppliers for the freshest, high-quality ingredients for your recipes.

Nutrition Facts: Are Peacock Mantis High in Cholesterol?

Peacock mantis shrimp do contain high amounts of cholesterol compared to other seafood. A 3 ounce (85 gram) serving of cooked peacock mantis contains approximately:

Calories 120
Protein 24 g
Total Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 195 mg
Sodium 150 mg
Carbohydrates 0 g

Key points:

– 195 mg of cholesterol per serving is over 60% of recommended daily value.

– Much higher cholesterol compared to popular seafood like tilapia, salmon, or tuna.

– Also provides high quality complete protein and good amounts of B12, selenium, copper, and zinc.

– Fat content is very low, with no saturated fat.

So in summary, peacock mantis are very high in cholesterol compared to other seafood options. This should be considered by those with heart disease or high cholesterol. Enjoy them in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Sustainability: Are Peacock Mantis Overfished?

Peacock mantis shrimp are not currently considered overfished or threatened overall according to seafood sustainability ratings. However, some localized overfishing and population declines have been observed.

Key sustainability facts:

– Global wild populations remain at healthy levels according to Monterey Bay Aquarium ratings.

– They reproduce rapidly which helps offset fishing pressure. Lifespans are 1-3 years.

– Demand has increased for them as a specialty seafood item, leading to more targeted fishing.

– Some localized depletion around SE Asia has been noted from aggressive harvesting.

– Bycatch in trawl fisheries also causes mortality, but as an invasive species impact in Hawaii and Florida is minimal.

– Eco-certified fisheries options are available in some regions like Australia and the Caribbean.

– Recreational harvests are harder to manage and have raised concern in Florida and Hawaii.

To ensure future abundance, conservation efforts like size limits, gear restrictions, protected breeding seasons, and fisheries management plans are recommended where peacock mantis are fished heavily.


Peacock mantis shrimp are a unique seafood delicacy that can be enjoyed safely with proper handling and preparation. Their rich, sweet flavor and firm texture make them highly prized in tropical cuisines around the world. However, they do require thorough cooking to eliminate any foodborne illness risks and should be consumed in moderation due to their high cholesterol content. Sourcing peacock mantis shrimp sustainably from well-managed fisheries helps ensure their continued availability. Following good food safety practices allows seafood lovers to take advantage of these colorful crustaceans’ unique culinary offerings. With smart preparation, purchasing, and portions, peacock mantis can provide a tasty addition to seafood menus.

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