man this is getting very interesting...thanks...
With regards to your contention that I should automatically believe what 100 marine biologists say, I'd have to argue: rather than take on faith what other people contend I'd like you to show me the EVIDENCE comparing octopuses to mantis shrimps...I am not arguing that octopus do not show some signs of intelligence (because they seem to, at least some rudimentary form), I'm just saying other invertebrates (including stomatopods) show the same thing (they're just not as cute and cuddly as cephalopods or have the same number of devoted "fans")
Here's a line from The Lurker's Guide:
"A few years ago at the meeting I gave a talk comparing the behavior of octopuses and stomatopods. I had a check sheet of about 25 characters where I compared them. Not surprisingly, the stomatopods came out way on top."
(from R. Caldwell who studies both octopuses and mantis shrimps)
With regards to octopuses as prey I don't have a library here with me..also the few literature available on stomatopods invariably simply says "mollusks" as prey, instead of becoming specific but still here are a few sources:
"The shallow water mantis shrimps live in burrows from which they hunt marine worms, snail, OCTOPUS, fish and other crustaceans."
FROM: The Unique Visual System of the Mantis Shrimp, American Scientist Vol 82:356
"Gut analysis showed that this animal (a spearer) is a typical carnivore and mainly ate .... SQUID Loligo edulis and fish"
FROM: Population structure and feeding behavior of the stomatopod crustacean Kempina mikado (Kemp and Chopra, 1921) in the East China Sea. Fisheries Science (Tokyo) 62(3): 397-399)
"I'm not sure I mentioned this before, but one
of the things that we have been working on is stomatopods killing and eating blue-rings (octopuses). The TTX (editor's note: a potent neurotoxin called tetradotoxin used by blue rings to capture and subdue prey),doesn't seem to faze them."
FROM: Lurker's Guide to Stomatopods (Roy Caldwell)
With regards to your mano a mano comments on mantis shrimps vs octopus, as far as I know stomatopods don't have black and white stripes running down their bodies...all stomatopods are carnivores, not herbivores. Here's a link to a comparison:
"As for fights between octopus and stomatopods, it is hard to predict....In general, squillids don't have much of a chance against cephalopods and are usually dead meat. However, against a large smasher - in the open - bet on the stomatopod."
Stomatopods can be prey of octopuses (as they are prey of large fishes etc --- life sucks sometimes no matter how well-armed you are) but I would wager that many octopuses and other cephalopods go down as dinner as well in the opposite direction...they're just way too soft and squishy to resist (grin)...