3 Mantis Shrimp Types & Characteristics

Stomatopods, often known as mantis shrimp, are predatory marine crustaceans that are a branch of the Malacostraca class. Let us explore some types of mantis shrimp below.

  • Smith’s Mantis Shrimp
  • Chiragra Mantis Shrimp
  • Ciliata Mantis Shrimp
  • Zebra Mantis Shrimp

Smith’s Mantis Shrimp

Due to its purple meral spot, Smith’s Mantis Shrimp (Gonodactylus smithii) is often referred to as the “Purple Meral Mantis” or “Purple-spotted Mantis.” Although shrimp gathered from deeper water are reddish in color, some others have red margins on each body segment. They are typically dark green with lighter antennal scales.

Chiragra Mantis Shrimp

The gonadodactylus chiragra, a male Chiragra Mantis Shrimp, is typically olive green in colour with black borders in each body segment. The legs and gill segments may have yellow to pink tips, while the main body segment (also known as the “carapace”) behind the head often has light golden-cream stripes. On the front legs, there is a white meral patch.

Ciliata Mantis Shrimp

A species of mantis shrimp called Pseudosquilla ciliata is also referred to as “rainbow mantis shrimp” and “fake mantis shrimp”. It is common in both western and eastern Atlantic Oceans as well as the tropical Indo-Pacific area. Pseudosquilla ciliata’s colour changes significantly depending on the surroundings.

Zebra Mantis Shrimp

The class of stomatopods known as “spearers” includes zebra mantis shrimp. In contrast to “smashers,” spearers have a row of sharp spines along the inner border of the last claw segment, which they utilise to spear softer food like shrimp and fish. The Zebra Mantis Shrimp is a huge species of mantis shrimp that may grow up to 40 cm in length.

Mantis shrimp characteristics

Mantis shrimps often have long, cylinder-shaped, or slightly flattened bodies from top to bottom. Let us explore the characteristics of mantis shrimp in brief.

Listed below are some of the characteristic features of mantis shrimp:

  • Mantis shrimp have spear-like arms that may impale prey instead of club-like limbs that are used to beat them.
  • Depending on the species, mantis shrimp exists in a wide range of colors. While some are marked to fit in with their environment, others are vividly colored.
  • The eyestalks and two pairs of antennae are carried on movable segments at the front of the head. The antennas are sensitive to smells and water disturbances.
  • Of all crustaceans, mantis shrimps have the most developed eyes, and they have outstanding eyesight. Multiple lenses make up each complex eye.
  • The eyes, which frequently have an iridescent appearance and seem like diamonds, are situated on the end of a stalk that resembles a periscope so they can see well in all directions.
  • Each eye is divided into three different visual zones by a specific band of lenses that is distinct from the other.
  • Mantis shrimps can utilize their lightning-fast raptorial appendages with lethal accuracy because they can discern objects well in all lighting situations and judge distances.
  • Mantis shrimps may be able to find and communicate with one another because of parts of their antennae and tails that reflect polarised light.
  • Pleopods, are five pairs of leaf-like arms on the abdomen (PLEE-oh-pawds). They have gills for breathing as well as swimming capabilities.
  • The flat tail segment, along with a pair of uropod-like appendages, make form the enormous, fan-shaped tail that emerges from the abdomen.

Mantis shrimp lifespan

Mantis shrimps are often referred to as stomatopods to set them apart from genuine shrimp. Let us learn about their lifespan in brief.

On an average, mantis shrimp lives for 20 years. During its lifetime, it reproduces 20 to 30 times. Males and females exclusively interact during mating in certain species. The female either lays her eggs in burrow or carries them about with her.

800px Mantis shrimp Odontodactyl
Image credits: Mantis Shrimp by Prilfish (CC BY 2.0) from Wikimedia Commons

Mantis shrimp life cycle

Mantis shrimp are planktonic and have an anatomy that is significantly unlike from the adult mantis shrimp. Let us check their lifecyle in detail.

Listed below gives a detailed explanation about the life cycle of mantis shrimp:

  • Different stomatopod species of mantis shrimp have different mating tactics. Over the course of their lives, several mantis shrimp species mate with a variety of mates.
  • In certain species, the male keep watch over the female for a while before she lays her eggs.
  • Additionally, certain species of mantis shrimp will remain partners for life. The larvae emerge from the burrow after the eggs hatch.
  • Before mantis shrimp can mature into adults, they must first go through numerous developmental phases as larvae.
  • Mantis shrimp produce their appendages at this stage. Several months may be needed to complete these larval stages.
  • Mantis shrimp larvae are predators that use their raptorial appendages to hunt, despite their tiny size. Even other larvae species are sometimes consumed by them.
  • However, some mantis shrimp have been known to survive for 20 years or longer. Stomatopods normally only have a life span of 3 to 6 years.


From the above article, it can be concluded that mantis shrimps are crucial to marine ecosystems because they control the populations of other species and encourage a greater diversity of species overall.

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