Stomatopod Images

Hemisquilla californiaensis in burrow.
Photograph by Ryan N

Hemisquilla californiensis in burrow

Have you ever wondered what stomatopods look like when they are inside their burrow? Well, here's an interesting pic from Ryan N showing a Hemisquilla californiensis mantis shrimp in the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

These smashers are credited with having the strongest smashes (even stronger than the smaller Odontodactylus scyllarus), although not on a per weight basis. According to Dr. Caldwell:

Hemisquilla is a modified smasher. It does not have the heavily armored and enlarged dactyl heal that is found in other gonodactyloids. It probably split off from other stomatopod lines quite a while back. There are only three species in the genus, one found on the west coast of the Americas, one in Brazil, and one in western Australia.

(The strength of its smash vis-a-vis peacock mantis shrimps) is all a matter of scale. Large H. californiensis can get to 30 cm total length. The largest O. scyllarus, the largest true smasher gets to only about 18 cm. Believe me, you would not want to meet a 30 cm O. scyllarus. As it is, we are currently making direct measurements of the striking force of O. scyllarus and H. californiensis and and if you compare two animals the same size, the O. scyllarus will be much more powerful. In fact, I suspect that the largest O. scyllarus will turn out to be stronger than the largest H. californiensis.

Visit Ryan's web page for more reef pictures!

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