problem with Mr. Mantis?


New member
Hmmm... i was wondering if anyone could help me out or give me some advice or reassurance... I got my mantis shrimp yesterday (finally!) and after i put him in, all he does is lay on his side or back, and sit there. He isn't dead, because he moves around occasionally, but he doesnt do much, just looks around and flips over then goes right back on his back or side. Well i was wondering if this had happened to anybody else and if he will start walking normally.
Thanks a lot,
Although I don't pretend to know too much about them I understand that you need to have something for them to "burrow in to" or Hide in. Do you?
If this is an O. scyllarus or other smasher, The prognosis is not good. Generally animals that cannot maintain their balance after shipment have been stressed (low oxygen, temperature, ammonia) and the chances are not good that it will recover. One really bad sign is if the raptorial appendages are extended and the animal does not seem to be able to fold them back under. If this happens, the animal will probably die.

Good luck.

I've had my mantis for a few weeks now. He was unable to keep ballance when I first got him, and he still has trouble.
When I first got him, he barely moved at all, but recently he has been eating and is moving around a lot more. He's missing one of his smashers and an eye, but he still battles on.
I'm guessing that if he hasn't died in the past few weeks, he will propably get over it and survive. I hope so anyway.
Hmmm... well i got home from work, and he is still on his back. He acts totally fine, just that he is upside down. I fed some live brine and he seemed to enjoy those just fine. His appendages are perfectly normal, and his body is in great condition. I just figured he was stressed out, and that he will get better.

Question for Roy... Judging by the fact that he is eating, how long do you think it will take to regain its balance? I just kinda want to know whether to be too concerned or not.

Thanks all so much,
What species is it? Spearers that live in burrows such as Lysiosquillina and Alachosquilla often lie on their backs. This is less common in smashers. That the animal is eating is a good sign, but I honestly can't predict the outcome.

Let me try one other tact. Stomatopods, unlike crayfish, lobsters and you and I, do not have an organ that responds to gravity and tells them which way is up. Rather, they rely on a dorsal light response. Simply put, they balance the light coming from above striking their two eyes and this generally keeps them upright. You can check this out by putting an animal in an aquarium or plastic bag in a dark room and shining a light from below. They will flip over on their back - putting the light on the top half of the eyes and balancing the input. When an animal loses an eye, it only gets input from one light sentivie organ. They will turn or roll towards the side with the eye trying to balance the input. It doesn't work so they turn in circles or roll over on their sides. (This was some of the first research I did on stomatopods in the mid-60's) After a few weeks the brain will re-wire and they will start to orient normally. While stomatopods can regenerate most appendages, they cannot regenerate an eye. Instinkt, your animal will always be a cyclops. It may, however, regenerate a short antennule in the place of the missing eye. I have found several animals in the field with this happening.

Wow that is really interesting. Thanks for the info! when i got home right now, he was sitting up right in his little cave, so i guess thats a good sign. Do you think i should be leaving the light on normal hours? (4-6 hours) or do you think he is getting too stressed out by this. I was thinking of keeping them off, but if you say that they utilize light to keep their balance, i should probably leave the lights on normal times. Well thank you for all the info,

EDIT: oh i forgot to mention that he is a peacock mantis, or at least i am pretty sure he is. He is mostly green and red, i will try to get some pictures up tomorrow when the lights are on. but its 3:20 in the AM so no pics now. I hand picked him from the vendors, because he seemed to be in the best condition, with the best coloration. I am pretty sure he is a peacock, but i could be wrong...
Sounds like he is coming around. At this point a normal light dark cycle is fine. O. scyllarus live from 10 to 100 feet, so they can take a fair amount of light as long as they have a good, dark burrow.

I should have mentioned that because they maintain their posture using a dorsal light response, inside the burrow where light does not come from above, they are not always inclined to sit in a normal position. They often lie on their side or event their back so short periods.

well roy... you just described exactly what he is doing. He sits in his cave, and kinda lays on his side. I checked on him before i went to work today, and he was enjoying a nassarius snail. but he was out in the open, and was standing fine. well i am really happy that he is in good condition and eating. once i get my camera back i will post some pics. Thanks a lot.