Surrounded by black volcanic sands, a peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus) stands guard over her ribbon-like mass of fertilized eggs.
The folds of this portable, flexible structure—held together with an adhesive produced by the mother—provide ample surface area for gas exchange between the egg membranes and the surrounding environment.
The female cleans and aerates the developing eggs with the same appendages she typically uses to handle prey.
With her limbs more than full caring for her brood, the female won’t eat until the eggs hatch and the larvae disperse.
Image Credit: Photographed in Lembeh Strait, Indonesia by Filippo Borghi / BigPicture Photography Competition