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FAQs about Mantis Shrimp Reproduction

Related Articles: Mantis Shrimps

Related FAQs: Mantis 1, Mantis 2, Mantis Identification, Mantis Behavior, Mantis Compatibility/Control, Mantis Selection, Mantis Systems, Mantis Feeding, Mantis Disease, 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,

Can Mantis Shrimp reproduce Asexually? 2/7/09 Hi WWM Crew, This is kind of a long saga that has been going on for almost 3 years, but have you ever heard any reports of Mantis Shrimp reproducing asexually? Background... When I set up my tank originally, I ordered 60 lbs of LR from the Caribbean. This rock came packed in bags with ocean water, so there was lots of still living creatures in the rock. I immediately heard the "snapping" noise right from the start. My clean up crew was pretty much wiped out. But the snapping was typical, after research, of what you would hear if you had a Mantis Shrimp. After about 6 months, I had added fish and new clean up crew and wasn't getting the deaths I was before, so I left him alone. Then I found him one morning just sitting against the front glass. This was very unusual cause he was always hiding in some hole somewhere, very rarely saw him. So I decided to net him and remove him. About 1 month later, I hear "snapping" again. I then said to myself.. wow I got pretty unlucky to get 2 of those things. This one continued to live harmoniously for the most part with everyone in the tank for about 6-8 months. (A tang, 2 clowns, 2 damsels, and a green mandarin). I would notice my hermit population slowly reducing or a missing snail here and there, but nothing big. Then one day I found that one just sitting against the front glass.. in the same spot. I decided to remove him too while I had a chance. Fast forward another month or so. I hear snapping... again. This process has repeated 4 times... I am apparently on my fifth Mantis Shrimp after 3 years. I have not added any rock or anything others could have been hiding in, so I either started with 5 and am the unluckiest person ever or something else is going on. It never seemed/sounded like I had more than one at a time. Although I could have started with 2 that spawned? But I wouldn't think the tiny offspring would survive. I had lots of crabs and other opportunistic eaters at the time. Also, I heard their lifespan is only a couple years, so I wonder if it's even possible I started with 5 of them 3 years ago and still have 1 left alive. The strangest thing to me is the repeated pattern of one just deciding to show itself just laying against the glass one day when I otherwise never see them. I remove them. Then snapping starts again within 3-5 weeks. Any ideas? am I just super unlucky with the rock I bought? Thanks, Cory <Hi Cory, the short answer is no, Mantis Shrimps do not reproduce asexually. They have a complex life cycle that involves a planktonic stage spanning many weeks, if not months, so breeding in aquaria isn't really possible. Like a lot of the larger crustaceans, the eggs are carried about by the female under her legs, but when the eggs hatch, the fry drift away. So if you discover new Mantis Shrimps in an aquarium, it is more than likely they were always there, but have simply grown big enough to become noticeable. As for lifespan, it varies from species to species. Anything between 3-5 years is typical for most of them, but can be substantially more: Lysiosquillina maculata specimens in labs have been recorded living for 20 years. Now, one other thing: are you sure you're not confusing Snapping Shrimps (a.k.a Pistol Shrimps, e.g., Alpheus spp.) with Mantis Shrimps? http://www.wetwebmedia.com/pistolshrimps.htm  Snapping Shrimps snap, and are also predatory. They can be surprisingly densely packed in some habitats, and I've handled batches of California kelp holdfasts that have yielded literally dozens and dozens per bucketful. They are hardy and do astonishingly well in captivity, and it would entirely possible you started off with lots of tiny juveniles that have only now become big enough to observe clearly. Snapping Shrimps are unusual in having very abbreviated larval stages, essentially compressing the whole thing into four days or so. It would be possible, though unlikely, I suppose, for Snapping Shrimps to breed in captivity. Cheers, Neale.>

Mantis shrimp propagation? -- 9/24/07 Hi Crew, While doing some rearranging in my tank, I found and caught a 3 inch mantis shrimp. I thought it was lucky that I caught him, supposing he was the reason I never saw my peppermint shrimp again after the day I put them in. <Perhaps> While I was rearranging, I put some live rock in a 10 gallon quarantine tank I have. When I moved that rock back to my reef tank, I noticed what I thought was a very big 'pod in the q-tank. Looking closer, I saw that it was actually another mantis shrimp, only very small (maybe 3/4 of an inch). So now I'm worried that I have an actively reproducing population of mantis shrimp in my tank. Is that likely? <Mmm, no... Much more probable is that these are introductions from the live rock> I was under the impression that these animals were territorial. <Are> It's only a 55. Reading on-line I found some documents stating that the densest populations of mantis shrimp in the seas consist of 1 shrimp per square meter. On the other hand, I haven't added any rock in the last 8 months or so, so I thought it was unlikely that I could have a mantis that small that wasn't hatched in my system. Have you all heard of a captive system with reproducing mantis shrimp? <Very rare... some smaller species... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Mike

Baby Mantis Dear WWM Crew, <Hi, MikeD here> I recently found 3 tiny Mantis Shrimp while removing seaweed remnants from my 437 gallon tank following a feeding.  They were about the size of a Gammarus or Mysid shrimp.  My tank has been in operation since June, 2003.  Six or seven months ago I removed 2 adult, tan colored Mantis Shrimp which I found living in my live rock.<The question that begs to be asked is how large were they and why did you remove them?> My questions are: 1. Do Mantis Fry have any natural predators?<Many, anything that will eat any other crustacean of similar size, particularly wrasses and pistol shrimp>  I have (3 angels) a Majestic, Asfur and Blue Faced Angel in that tank in addition to a large Copperband Butterfly, 12 Green Chromis, a mated pair of True Perculas, a Red Sea Wrasse, a Blue Neon Goby and a large Cleaner Shrimp.  Would any of these fish eat these small Mantis Shrimp?<the wrasse would be the one most likely, although any of the others large enough wouldn't pass up the opportunity if they catch them in the open>   2. Should I assume that I still have a pair of adult Mantis Shrimp in my tank or could eggs have been in my tank or sump waiting till now to hatch?<My guess is that these babies may be a different, smaller species that came in as hitch-hikers in the LR, although they could also be young of the pair that you removed. In most the eggs are carried beneath the tail in normal shrimp fashion and when released become free swimming planktonic fry that are gobbled up by the fish and filter> 3. How many baby Mantis Shrimp could I possibly have inherited?<Only a couple hundred to a thousand or so, depending upon the species **grin**  I strongly doubt that many more than those you have found have survived though. There's also the possibility that what you are seeing are something else, as many small crustaceans, including some Gammarus relatives also have mantis-like grasping claws> 4. If my current marine population will not eradicate them from my tank, what would by your recommended plan of action in removing them from my tank?<A narrow necked bottle with some meaty food in it, placed top up and at a 45 degree angle near the known lair at night often works well.  Keep in mind that there are many, many species, some never growing more than 1/2" or so that function quite well as scavengers in larger tanks such as yours>   Once again thank you for your help. Ron

Re: Baby Mantis Shrimp in My tank Hi Mike D, <Hi back, MikeD here again> Thanks for taking the time to answer my question concerning 3 tiny Mantis Shrimp that I found in my 437 gallon tank.<You're very welcome>  You asked how large the two adult Mantis Shrimp were that I had remover about 6 months ago.  One was about 2 inches long and the other was about 2 1/2 inches.<OK. Many people aren't aware that there are hundreds of different species of two types, smashers and spearers, that range from 1/4" up to a giant nearly 18" long.>   I brought them to a local pet shop and gave them to the owner who put them in a separate tank and told me that some people like to keep them as pets in a species tank.<They do, myself included.>  I however felt that they would cause harm to my smaller fish.<The "spearer" type, yes, while the "smashers", such as the Peacock mantis shrimp generally leave most fish alone, preying on snails, clams, crabs, shrimp and any other sessile invertebrate that they come across.>   The three smaller ones that I recently caught were identified, after inspection under a magnifying glass, as Mantis Shrimp by two different local pet shop owners.<I've learned to be wary of ID's, even by experts. Here in Florida I worked  for the city as a volunteer snake and exotic animal remover for over 10 years, and out of 137 calls concerning pygmy rattlesnakes, many ID'd by "experts", NONE were pygmy rattlers. On the other hand, I've seen piranhas mixed in with silver dollars and deadly scorpion species listed as harmless offered for sale in many LFS and even have a Stonefish, the most venomous fish known that was purchased as a Scorpionfish and two Waspfish that have also caused human fatalities that were sold as "butterfly gobies".>   Thank you again for your quick response to my question.<You're very welcome, and as long as your happy with your decision, that's all that matters.> Ron

Baby Mantis Woes? Not Likely Hey guys! I have a 29gal mostly invert tank with about 30lbs of LR.  It's been running for about 3 months now with no problems (other than usual cycling).  And I did put the LR right in my tank.  I was expecting some hitchhikers...most of the LR I got came out of a huge reef that a SW pet store broke down due to having to move. About a week ago I noticed a creature digging a burrow in a fish/invert free area of the aquarium. it would occasionally come out and feed on the tiny white pods crawling around.  I was more fascinated than alarmed by this...I thought if it turns out to be a mantis I'll get a tank for it.  But now.. Last night after the lights were off for about 3 hours I took a flashlight to the tank and saw quite a few close to 20) 1/4" - 1/2" creatures scurrying around to hide.  My fire scallops were going nuts spitting these things out I'm assuming the creatures were trying to hide from the light).  I'm not aware of what baby mantis shrimp look like and I've been trying to find info on them.  These guys looked like clearish crickets with that mantis looking front (two mantis looking arms)  They kept their tails curled under them and when in a corner they would spin around head over tail slowly.  Some had darker horizontal stripes down the back and tail.  I've read a lot of your site and I'm aware that you guys usually need a picture to help. though I don't think I could get a clear enough pic of a 1/2" thing zooming to hide at night.  If you have any clue or advice on what they could be I would be very thankful.  One mantis is ok but 20 make me fear for the animals that I put in there! This is what I have in my tank- 4 red sponges (came with LR) 6 feather dusters (several small feather dusters came with LR) 3 BTAS (came on LR) doreensis? purple with green tips 2 fire scallops (VERY food and time consuming. I'd advise against heh) 1 very protective pair of skunk cleaner shrimp 3 peppermint shrimp 1 neon goby 1 scooter blenny 1 Firefish goby 1 sand sifting star flamingo tongue cowry various snails and small hermits Thanks for your time! ~Angela ***Hey Angela, Yes, I really do need a picture. :) When you describe them as having "two mantis looking arms" then I wonder how familiar you are with mantis "shrimp" (stomatopods.) Stomatopods have a VERY CHARACTERISTIC appearance, and don't look a bit like anything else. They are really not shrimp at all. I'd be willing to bet that what you are seeing are Gammarus shrimp. A common inhabitant in reef tanks, and quite harmless. Even at the size you speak of, young stomatopods look just like the adults. By the way, sand sifting stars are not a good thing to have in reef tanks. They eat all the good fauna that you WANT in your sand bed. They are predatory - not good. What you should have instead are Nassarius snails. They inhabit the sand bed, and feed on detritus and other organic matter. Regards

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