Aptly named Mantis Shrimps or Mantid
Lobsters, or squillids, this group of predatious crustacea
capture prey with large powerful raptorial limbs, just like
the insect preying mantids do. Adult shrimps may be 30cms
long. Deep well formed holes lined with salivory mucus to
keep walls intact. Some produce a flexible lid or sphincter,
of sand and saliva which partly closes the tube. Mostly active
at night these ferocious characters lunge from their tubes
to grab over-swimming fish and almost any other suitable victim.
The eyes of stomatopods are the most
sophisticated in the animal kingdom. Each eye and eye stalk
has bifocal (3-D) vision. Each compound eye being dumbell
shaped and capable of detecting three different polarisations
The late larval stages are beautifully
transparent and are active predators in the plankton community.
the group exhibits two types of larval development, the earlier
stages of which are passed in the burrow. The later stages
leading to the alima stage become more like the adult and
prior to settling out, after six weeks or so in the plankton,
they may be five centimetres long and as transparent as glass.
In Bermuda, Mantid shrimps are called
'split-thumb' or 'split-toe' because of their ferocious habit
of striking at human interlopers!