Tropical Marine Centre has mantis shrimps in stock at its Bristol branch.
If you're after something a bit different for a dedicated marine set-up — or maybe even something to keep in a sump tank — mantis shrimps make great pets. They're intelligent, long-lived and fascinating crustaceans, belonging to the Stomatopoda order. They are split into two groups depending on the the type of claws they have.
'Spearers', like the Squilla species, have specially developed appendages with barbed tips or serrated edges which are used to impale and disembowel prey.
'Smashers', such as Gonodactylus, possess a much more developed club with which they bludgeon and smash their prey and a more rudimentary — but still very sharp — spear with which to cut. An acrylic aquarium is best for these, as the force of the blow has been known to crack glass.
Both are incredibly quick when it comes to attack, with the smashers able to strike at the same speed as the acceleration of a .22 calibre bullet when it's fired.
Take care if you decide to keep any of these — tankmates aren't really recommended and watch those claws. They don't get the nickname of 'thumbsplitter' for nothing...
Please note that TMC supplies to the trade only, however if you see something you like, your local dealer may be able to get it for you.
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