Stomatopod Images

Neogonodactylus oerstedii.

Photo by Kara (website)

Neogonodactylus oerstedii: Happy Food Dances to the Goddess and other things

With some hints of intelligence come that possible bane of pet owners: a personality. Although many mantis shrimps are not shy at all and rush forward to do battle with almost anything you place in the tank with them, just as many are likely to be content simply to sit and wait in their lairs until they get hungry enough to go out and start hunting.

In Kara's case, she certainly got a mantis shrimp that lives up to its reputation as the "life of the reef"!

I wouldn't be too worried about your mantis being shy. I'm sure after a while it will feel confortable and start to become the smashing machine he was always meant to be! Start tapping on the glass just before you feed him. He'll learn that anytime you tap on the glass, means come out! Roy comes out and greets me in the morning, when I come home at night and anytime he sees me.

Roy also does what I call the happy food dance. When I give him food, he stuffs it in his tunnel. Then he comes out and stares at me. Then does several figure eights, goes back into his house, then out again and stares at me for a few seconds. Then he goes back into his tunnel and plays with his food for a few minutes. At this point I'm usually laughing cause it's cute. I'm sure there is a reason for this behavior, but it is the funniest thing. It's almost like he's saying 'Thank you, human with good food!!!!!'

I actually remember one of my first mantis shrimps doing something similar. It used to love to lay on its back just at the lair entrance, tail curved forward, with the food morsel held tightly to its body and its eyes rotating to follow me. It was the cutest thing I've ever seen a reef critter do!

For more, visit Kara's web site! Neogonodactylus oerstedii.

Tank set-up: 2.5gallon mantis tank

"2.5 gallon MiniBow with lots of macroalgae and branch live rock. I put some Xenia in there that is doing very well! I'll be upgrading him to a 5 gallon soon!"

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