Mantis Breeding ?


New member
I got about 40lbs of live rock from tampa about a year ago and ive had a great tank. I just moved and discarded about half of my live rock, I kept the best stuff.

I know that I had 2 mantis in there before the move. One Red and one deeper greenish brown. (male and female ?)
I actually caught one of them when I was setting my tank back up and isolated him/her in a tupperware with some holes cut in it. I have not seen the other mantis so it might have been with the discarded rock, or hiding in the tank now.

( The captive mantis is about 2-3 inches long, is a light cherry red color, and has lost some bright markings on the front claws over the year )

Now, 2 days later I find a small reddish ball of some sort that this mantis holds onto like a football. This ball appears to have little tiny egg-like spheres inside. I have not put anything into the container before I saw this thing so I know its not food or ex-food.

:eek1: Am I on the verge of a mantis baby swarm here? :eek1:
They are eggs. If the eggs are fertile (she can store sperm for at least a couple of months), the female will carry them for three weeks. She uses her mouth appendages (maxillipeds) to clean and transport the egg mass. When they hatch, she will stay with the larvae for another week. For this time, the larvae will remain clustered together in the brood cavity and will molt three times. When the yolk is gone and they molt to the fourth stage, they will become attracted to light and will swim up into the water columb. They will be about 2 mm long and milky translucent in color. Given the size of your female, there will probably be around 200- 400 larvae. At this point you can catch them by turning off the lights in the tank and room and shining a flashlight into the tank. Thw larvae will swim against the glass into the light beam. We aren't sure how long the larvae remain in the plankton - probably a month. In the wild they would molt four more times and settle out as 8 mm long minature adults. Mantis shrimp larvae have rarely been successfully cultured. They are highly cannibalistic, so if you try to rear them in containers, they have to held one per container and fed a diversity of small, live prey. A diet of just Artemia hatchlings won't cut it. There is no danger of your tank being overrun with hundreds of mantis shrimp. I have never heard of larvae surviving for very long in a standard aquarium system. Even if they did survive, it would take over a year for them to grow to an inch long and probably another year to reach sexual maturity.

Thanks for the info!

It would be fun to raise the critters but It seems impossible.
Well, since shes not eating anyway right now... anyone want a
mantis with an egg cluster? The only way I can keep her is to have a plastic container in the tank and that kinda sucks for her.