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FAQs about Mantis Shrimp Behavior

Related Articles: Mantis Shrimps

Related FAQs: Mantis 1, Mantis 2, Mantis Identification, Mantis Compatibility/Control, Mantis Selection, Mantis Systems, Mantis Feeding, Mantis Disease, Mantis Reproduction, Crustaceans, Micro-Crustaceans, Amphipods, Copepods, Mysids, Hermit Crabs, Shrimps, Cleaner Shrimps, Banded Coral Shrimp, Anemone Eating Shrimp Crustacean Identification, Crustacean Selection, Crustacean Behavior, Crustacean Compatibility, Crustacean Systems, Crustacean Feeding, Crustacean Disease, Crustacean Reproduction,

Re: Coo Coo for Stomatopoda  3/9/11
Thanks (Dr. ?) Mr. Fenner! I once again apologize for such a long message, and I also appreciate your response! Sounds like a 29 gallon Biocube might be the way to go, and also with a beautiful Odontodactylus scyllarus. Hopefully he doesn't get to frisky and try to drill through the glass..... I'm kinda highly doubtful as I said before that if they were commonly known to do so, then wouldn't that make them a tad bit less popular? anyways I had one last question. Is it possible that when I'm stacking my live rock that if I make a cave or hollow out a burrow in the centerpiece, and when I introduce the mantis (possibly letting it go in front of the cave) that it will bolt for the desired half way premade hole?
<Yes. Just do set the principal/larger rock directly on the aquarium bottom... to prevent toppling by undermining/digging; i.e., not on top of the sand/substrate>
I suppose its up to chance and the mantis at that but didn't know if there was any light you could shine on it.. OH! and are the peacock mantis' often found roaming around even before or not during feedings?
<In the wild, yes, at times, places they're very outgoing. In captivity, with time, familiarity likewise they are more forthcoming>
Or are they known to just sit in their burrow all day, and only come out during feedings? Thanks once again!
<Welcome. BobF>

Mantis Shrimp Behavior Question: Entrance Blocking: Normal - 4/4/10
Hey gang!
<Hey Jon, Lynn here today.>
I have a quick question regarding Mantis shrimps that Google was unable to answer for me.
<Fire away>
I recently discovered the presence of a small (say 2", maybe a bit smaller) Mantis shrimp living in a piece of live rock in my 65gal tank.
<Interesting, have you noticed any impact on your snail, or other crustacean population?>
As of yet I am unable to identify the species (I suspect it's a smasher, and it's light, mottled brown, that's all I've got so far).
<Most hitchhikers tend to be of the smashing variety. These prey on snails, other crustaceans, hermits, etc.>
My research to this point seems to indicate that at that this size they are not really able to break aquarium glass, so I figured he might make an interesting character for the lower levels of my tank.
<As long as it's not a bare-bottom tank!>
Anyways, several hours after we discovered him he disappeared.
His hole was blocked with a mass of sand and small stones.
Further investigation with a flashlight
<Heeee! I can tell you from personal experience that they're not big fans of flashlights. A better option is one with a red lens.>
..revealed that several other holes in the rock had pieces of shell or stone jammed into them.
<This is not at all unusual. Mantis shrimp tend to be territorial little critters that don't appreciate guests (or flashlight beams), so they block their entrances with whatever's available. Some do this periodically (when threatened or perhaps as you mentioned, when molting), while others do it routinely each day. They've even been known to physically block the main entrance with their front appendages. That's the ultimate statement of 'Stay back or you're going to get pounded!'.>
He remained hidden for a little over a day and just a few minutes ago I noticed that he had emerged again.
My hypothesis is that he was moulting and had blocked up the hole for protection.
<It's possible but I would have expected him to be 'holed-up' a bit longer than that.>
I was just wondering if you guys could either confirm my suspicions or give me some indication as to what was going on there.
<Mantis are smart animals with unbelievable eyesight. My guess is that yours noticed your attention on him, didn't like the flashlight beam, and went into a defensive mode. Here's a neat log entry that you might find interesting: http://www.blueboard.com/mantis/logs/l022498.htm
More information here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/inverts/arthropoda/stomatopods/mantisshrimp.htm
If you haven't yet come across the following site, do look through it. It's got information on just about everything you need, from care and feeding, to the potential for breaking glass, as well as removal/trapping: http://www.blueboard.com/mantis/
As I'm sure you're aware, Mantis shrimp really are wonderful little animals, but they pose a significant threat to livestock. Some of this can be stemmed by offering the Mantis frequent meaty bits (of marine origin) with a feeder stick (obviously never with your fingers!). If/when the time comes to remove your Mantis, consider keeping it in a separate tank. If this is impossible, do check your local fish clubs. Mantis shrimp are often sought after by hobbyists.>
Much appreciated!
<You're very welcome!>
- Jon
<Take care, LynnZ>

Mantis Shrimp Presentation, beh.  11/5/09
A lengthy, but very interesting presentation by Sheila Patek on the Mantis Shrimp. Well worth watching.
James (Salty)
<Will list. BobF>

Unusual mantis shrimp behavior  - 05/10/2006 Hey crew,     A pet mantis shrimp (Squilla empusa) has recently started exhibiting some extremely unusual behavior. It has started laying on its side, peapods barely moving, and excreting a bright orange substance (see attached pics). Is this egg laying? <Yes> This animal has been in a tank since last summer, and hasn't had any exposure to another mantis shrimp for almost eight months. Any ideas on what this behavior is, spawning or disease? Thanks a bunch, -Kevin <Is spawning, producing eggs, which will be infertile (of course). Should recover, the eggs ultimately dispersed, consumed, removed by your skimmer. Bob Fenner>

Frustrated with disappearances 10/25/05 Good morning.  <And to you>  I'm a new hobbyist, and have learned a great deal from your website, but was wondering if you could help me with a frustrating problem. I've followed lots of advice from your site, and after about 6 weeks, I have the beginnings of some nice coralline growth on my live rock. My problem is disappearing bottom feeders, specifically a 3.5 inch algae blenny about two weeks ago (never found a trace, in spite of moving around rocks), and now a new 3.5 inch sand-sifting orange spot goby who looked great sifting my sand bed yesterday, and then just vanished. It's only been a day, but I fear the worst.  I have a 36 gallon bowfront, 4" deep sand bed (Caribbean play sand), 10 pounds base lace rock, 40 pounds mixed Florida and Fiji live rock, 2 internal powerheads, hang-on Prizm skimmer, hang-on filter (for intermittent charcoal and mechanical filtration), 2 65Watt power compact lights. Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates undetectable. pH is 8.2 and temp steady around 80. Occupants are 2 true percula clowns, one small coral beauty angel, 1 brittle star (definitely not green), 1 common cleaner shrimp, 8 blue leg hermits, 3 red leg hermits, 5 Astrea snails, 5 Nassarius snails, and 2 small emerald crabs (roughly ¾" across the shell).  After reading your site, my suspects are: 1: hidden predator (unseen Mantis despite prevention attempts, and not seeing anything staying up to watch at night) or... 2: the emeralds. 3: brittle star. I was hoping you could help with my suspect list, and advice/course of action to find the culprit. I'd be surprised to hear the emeralds or brittle star are at fault given the size of them in relation to the missing fish, but I'll defer to your experience. I would really like to get on small bottom fish (preferably a goby or Jawfish), but I'm frustrated with the losses (and the cost), so I don't want to add anything else until I've sorted it out. I don't want to remove all the rock, so my thought was to proceed with some sort of trap at night. I'd love to tap your experience on: 1: Am I on the right track in assuming I've got a mantis, or would you suspect another culprit? 2: How common are mantis shrimp? I've read about them at your site, but everybody at the LFS said they had never even seen a mantis shrimp. How unlucky could I be with such a relatively small amount of rock? 3: What to do about it... I've considered fashioning some type of trap and baiting with shrimp, but I'd like you advice on where to place it and what to bait it with. With the type of fish disappearing, I'm unsure whether to trap near the rock, or along the sandbed in the front. If there's a bad guy in there, I suspect he's buried in the rock, and traps the fish when they are either sleeping or foraging deep in the rock. I've had no trouble (at least not yet) with the coral beauty, or the clowns. Thanks for a great site!!!! I'm loving the hobby so far, but this particular frustration is really giving me a fit (and my little boy gets really upset when we lose a fish).... <Unless the brittle star is fairly large, it doesn't appear you have any threat to your fish. Getting mantis shrimp as hitchhikers in live rock isn't that uncommon. Do you ever hear any clicking sounds at night? Are you sure the fish aren't in a overflow box etc? Did you check the floor behind the tank? If everything is OK in that regard, I'd probably get a mantis trap and bait it with some frozen type of food. The orange spotted gobies do best with a live sand bed and frequent feedings. Quite possible he wasn't getting enough food and may be dead and buried in the sand bed. Try stirring up the sand and see if that isn't the case. James (Salty Dog)> 

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