Mantis Shrimp

© Johan Boshoff

Common Family Name

Mantis shrimp

Scientific name



Up to 30 cm, average 12 cm


Elongated body with segments and five pairs of legs. First pair modified into a smashing claw. Thorax is solid with bendable abdomen. Eyes are on stalks on the head. Colouration differs from light brown and beige to vibrant green, red and blue.

General Info

Stomatopoda order consists of 19 families and 120 genera. Hides in burrows. Hunts prey by spearing or smashing their shells. Very complex eyes enable them to hunt effectively. Mostly nocturnal hunters. Carry their eggs until hatched. Larvae are planktonic until juvenile stage.


Feeds on fish, crustaceans and molluscs.


Occurs in all temperate and tropical oceans of the world.

Common Species

Giant smashing mantis shrimp
Echinosquilla guerinii
Peacock mantis shrimp
Odontodactylus scyllarus
Spearing mantis shrimp
Alima laevis

© Johan Boshoff