Stomatopod Care and Rearing

How often do they need to be fed? (Dr. R. Caldwell)

Many stomatopods are picky about what they will eat and they will often hold out for the easiest item. A stomatopod being fed frozen shrimp will often not take snails for a couple of weeks until it gets really hungry and makes the switch. Then you may have trouble getting it back to shrimp. Other individuals may take whatever is offered.

Diet also depends on stage in the molt cycle. An animal that has recently molted won't be able to break snails or hermits. Later, it may prefer them.

I am a firm believer in variety for our animals. We feed snails (local Tegula), frozen shrimp, freeze-dried krill (with a liquid supplement), and even live adult brine shrimp and Hawaiian red shrimp (it gives them something to do to chase them down.)

What is important if you have a smasher like an O. scyllarus is to include some hard prey like snails or hermits so that the animal has to work to open them. Exercise seems to help avoid raptorial appendage loss during a molt.

As for frequency, most animals will eat every day, but they can go for a couple of weeks without food. As long as the animal is taking and eating what you provide, four or five feedings a week seems about right. However, I should note that we have video of animals in the field that shows that they feed two or three times a day if they can only catch something small. If they drag back a large crab or snail, that will usually do them for the day.

- Dr. Roy Caldwell

Web Site Author: A. Sunjian
Site Created February 3, 1998
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