Florida Cheapies


Premium Member
Just thought I'd pop a pic in of our latest acquisition and brag a little about his cost......would you believe free?
Here in Florida, we get our mantis shrimp from the local live bait shops, as they often come in with the shrimp used as fishermen's bait.
The bait shops happily give them away, as the local nick-name is "thumbsplitters" and there is some liability involved if they accidently pass one off to an unwary tourist who has never seen one.
I would imagine anyone living in a coastal area can obtain specimens for nothing the same way (the one pictured is about 5" long and is being kep in an old Betta display tank (about 3-5 gals) of the type that is slotted to make compartments.
It's filtered by a small Penguin bio-wheel filter and live caularpa to help keep the nitrates down and works very well.
Thanks for the ID Gono.....much easier than researching, etc.!*grin**
Any idea on maximum size for these guys and are they all this gentle?
Being acutely aware of the damage they can inflict, I currently use tweezers to feed him, but he actually borders on dainty when he knows it's not something that has to be overpowered.
We also have a "stick" mantis-shrimp type animal found here, with a large one being 1/2"...they are white and move along sticks and blades of eelgrass much like an inchworm, then rearing up and swaying in the current waiting for brine shrimp/daphnia sized prey.
Chris = Jealous. I had to have a friend of mine bring me my mantis from about 400 miles away! Also, the rock at the LFS I work at hardly has ANY hitchhikers (crabs or shrimps at least) in its rock. I need to find some of these cool "mistakes"
Hitch hikers are great.....down here EVERY rock or shell has something hiding in it, ranging from small rock crabs, porcelain crabs by the thousands and the occassional octopus and brittle star.
Our beaches also have hundreds of really nice tube anemones with only moderately long tentacles that range from black to cinnamon ( in about 3" of water) and a type of sea cucumber called a thyone that have black feeding tentacles they put up from the sand that resemble a black/purple basket star.
The maximum size for Squilla empusa is about 8 inches. Generally they come in at 5 or 6. They are not particularly aggressive, although they do have a nasty habit of eating one another, particularly when they molt. This is a common species with a very broad geographic range extending from Maine to Brazil. We don't know much about how long they live, although they probably live less long than gonodactyids. My guess is that a 5 inch S. e. is around three years old.

The small raptorial "inch worm" animals you describe are caprellid amphipods - commonly called "skeleton shrimp". They are not related to stomatopods although the "raptorial appendages" do look similar.

Thanks for the info....it's refreshing to meet someone with interests that are a little off "main stream", as there is so much fantastic life in the sea that is so sadly overlooked, much of it right here in our own back yards.
Dude,I would love to own one of those especially since my large male G. chiragra went to that big place in the sky not too long ago.:(And I've been trying to obtain this spearer.How much for shipping?