14 photos - 9 species


The animals have the popular name ‘mantis shrimp’

because the catching method is very similar to that of a praying mantis.

Sometimes they are also called mantis shrimp.

While the catch of a praying mantis takes around 100 milliseconds

the movement of the sea creatures is around 50 times faster.

This incredible feat is one of the fastest movements in the animal kingdom. 

The enormous speed causes the water to vaporise into small,

unstable bubbles, which immediately implode with a loud bang.

This physical phenomenon is known as ‘cavitation’.

Gonodactylellus viridis

Green mantis shrimp or Smasher mantis shrimp

 Maximum length: 5 - 10 cm

Maximum depth: 0 - 100 m

The colouring can be very variable, although its name is green mantis shrimp.

Likes to hide between clumps of algae, in rock holes and between coral branches.

They eat anything they can catch, mainly crustaceans, mussels and snails.

Mainly nocturnal.

Photo 1 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North - Sulawesi

Lysiosquilla scabricauda

Scaly-tailed mantis shrimp

 Maximum size: 30 cm

Maximum depth: 0 - 20 m

They live in the coastal sea, rarely at very great depths.

The first pair of their legs is a cleaning organ with brushes.

The second pair of maxillipeds are the huge clubs (to which they owe their name).

During resting phases they are usually carried on the front body,

where they can spring out in a flash when catching prey, for example.

The three following legs are tentacles, equipped with spines and claws,

which hold the prey, impale it and lead it to the mouth.

They also have 3 pairs of walking legs and 5 pairs of swimming legs.

Their very numerous lenses (10,000), which are placed on high stalk eyes,

can deliver 3 images simultaneously, thus enabling the crayfish

to observe from 6 different perspectives, trinocularly and binocularly.

They can perceive UV and polarised light as well as 100,000 colours.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Lysiosquilla lisa

Lisa's mantis shrimp

 Maximum size: 30 cm

Depth: 14 - 25 m

Lives in self-made burrows in volcanic sandy soils.

White spots on the eyes and a reddish-brown body colour.

At approx. 11 metres per second (400 km/h),

it folds out its second pair of tentacles and literally spears its prey. 

Photo 1 Astrid: Bangka Island North Sulawesi

Lysiosquilla maculata

Tiger mantis shrimp or Common banded mantis shrimp

 Maximum length: 40 cm

Their body has dark cross bands and the oval eyes typical of spearers.

They are found in coastal and outer reefs in self-dug tubes

that are about 12 cm in diameter and can be up to 5 metres long.

There are two different genera of grasshopper crustaceans: ‘spearers’ and ‘butterflies’.

Night hunters.

Photos 1 - 3 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North - Sulawesi

Lysiosquilloides mapia

Golden mantis shrimp

 Maximum length: 15.5 cm

Very rarely encountered, despite being widespread.

Lives in a self-made tube in the sand.

Its bright orange colour is particularly striking.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi

Neogonodactylus curacaoensis

Dark mantis shrimp

 Maximum length: 3 - 5 cm

Depth: 7 - 23 m

Body unicoloured brown to dark olive.

Eyes are undivided.

Forages during the day in holes and crevices,

as well as on overhangs and other sheltered places.

Very shy, when approached it immediately disappears,

disappears into a hole or under the coral and reappears in other places.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Odontodactylus latirostris

Pink-eared mantis shrimp or Poorman's peacock mantis shrimp

 Maximum length: 8 cm

Commonly found in Indonesia.

Colour pattern of the outer part of the tail fan is distinct,

a black spot is followed by a pink terminal segment.

Photo 1 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North - Sulawesi

Odontodactylus scyllarus

Peacock mantis shrimp

 Maximum length: 18 cm

The animal lives at a depth of 10-30 metres.

They build simple U-shaped burrows out of rock.

The colouring is olive or green and they have red flapping arms.

Clearly recognisable by the leopard pattern on the lateral carapace.

They can live up to 6 years.

Sexual differences can also be recognised by their colouring.

Females are olive brown, males green. 

Photos 1 - 3 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North - Sulawesi

Pseudosquilla ciliata

Common mantis shrimp, Checkered-eye mantis,

Ciliated false squilla or False mantis shrimp

Maximum length: 9 cm

Their colour varies greatly depending on the crab's environment.

For example, if it lives in a seagrass bed, it will often be green in colour,

while one that lives in coralline algae will often be red.

The colour can range from yellowish to almost black and can be plain, marbled or striped.

Photo 1 Astrid: Bangka Island North Sulawesi