Growth Development of Mantis Shrimp?


Active member
I have been starting a lot of threads on mantis shrimp lately. Sorry if this all seems annoying, but these "pests" are actually becoming quite interesting to me.:)

I have this theory that about a year ago I inadvertently introduced some mantis shrimp into my tank(s). Roughly one year ago I bought a colony of yellow polyps from the LFS, and upon getting it home I decided to chisel it open and put several pieces in different parts of my tank. To my surprise, (my cousin can attest that I screamed like a girl) a strange grey worm-shrimp-crab kind of a thing jumped out of the rock.

This is what I suspect is my oh-so-elusive mantis. I actually found a few of these "things" in the rock, and decided to put one into my 20 gallon reef, and one into my main reef. (I had no idea what they were at the time, and I have never seen them since.) Could these little grey things have been baby mantis shrimp? The reason I am curious is because I have now had some fish go MIA, and I found the remains of a molt that I suspect belongs to a mantis shrimp.

Do mantis shrimp sort of grow into a predatory role? I haven't added any liverock or coral to my tank in probably six or seven months. Could these mysterious grey things that I added to my tank be baby mantis that have now grown up into killer shrimp? The molt that I found just last week was blue legs with a blue and green carapace kind of a thing. Is it true that mantis can change coloration in a tank - or possilby with age?

Thanks for anyone that can help. Just looking for some answers as to why I'm losing my fish - and maybe getting a cool pet...:)
Not likely, although Pseudosquilla ciliata will live in LR as juveniles and they often have little color at this point. They would be about an inch long. They are predatory from the start, but probably could not take fish until they were a couple of inches long - about a year.


P. ciliata can turn a variety of colors including brown, black, green, orange, yellow, and cream. It can also put together various patterns. The most common are a mottled cream and brown or black that looks like sand and a green or brown body color with a cream racing stripe down the length of the body. THis usually occurs in animals living in grass beds. A change in color has to occur during a molt and it usually takes several weeks or even months of exposure to a new habitat before you seen the change. We aren't sure what visual input is required, but it is mediated through the eyes and seems to include not only substrate color, but also the color and shape of thinks above the animals - algae, grass, etc.