- They fit into the Crustacea phylum in the class Malacostraca, subclass Hoplocarida (which means "armed shrimp"), and order Stomatopoda.
- They are most often referred to as Stomatopods.
- They come in what seems like an endless variety of species.
- They are found in tropical waters worldwide.
- They are carnivores and will eat just about anything and everything.
- They are experts at catching and killing prey, being very clever, stealthy hunters.
- They are masters at hiding.
- They are not related to shrimp, but are referred to as shrimp because of their front appendages and how they use them to capture food.
- They are called a "Mantis" Shrimp due to the fact they resemble the appearance and have the same hunting characteristics of a praying mantis insect.
- There are two hunting categories, the "spearers" and the "smashers". The "spearers" use their spear-like claw to silently stab soft tissued prey. The "smashers" use their forceful, club-like claw to hit, crack open or pulverize harder bodied prey. It is interesting that the power of the "smashers" appendage can produce a blow close to the power of a .22 caliber bullet and are notoriously known as "thumb splitters". It is rumored that because of the tremendous strength these animals have, they can crack aquarium glass. From a story about how a pet Mantis Shrimp broke 1/4 inch aquarium glass, that was posted in The Daily Mirror (a British Newspaper) on Friday, April 10, 1998, page 11, this documentation leads us to believe that this is possible.
- These animals are burrowers, and can create tubes or cavities in sand, rubble or mud.
- They will adapt to living in holes, cracks or crevices in rocks, and may take up residence in snail or hermit crab shells as well.
- They are solitary animals, and unless you have a VERY large tank, they should be kept alone.
So how does a Mantis Shrimp get into your tank, aside from intentionally putting one there? By hitchhiking in on live rock.
Next Page > How Can You Tell If You Have One in Your Tank?