really irritates me!


New member
spent most of friday afternoon in the valley brousing the local fish stores. at a store that will remain annonymous (located on ventura blvd.) i asked about mantis shrimp. they said that they could get the "colorful one" O. scyllaris and a said i was looking for a spearer, the clerk said that they could frequently get a yellow spearer, and on monday he could make a request to his boss. well today is monday. the clerk was late to work, so i called back 2 hrs later... he "just walked in" and hadn't had the time to ask his boss yet. funny though, i had to completely re explain what i was looking for (IOW, he forgot) an hour and a half later i called back. I again had to explain what i was looking for and was put on hold. he returned saying i would have to come down and bring in a $50.00 down payment, that they normally run 70-80 dollars and i would likely take 2 months! needless to say i will never again visit the Center. first off, why are nearly all workers at a LFS morons? and why do they think that costomers are morons themselves? it can't be that hard to accomidate a costomer with an animal that is killed as a pest, and frequently shows up as a stow awayin rock. and there is no way i would ever pay even 40 dollars for a the 'pod. why is it so damn hard to get a mantis shrimp!!!
$40 is a bit much to pay for a mantis. I bought mine for $4 to $8.
The most expensive i've seen is an L.maculata for $30. and this is in $aus.
I won't try to defend the industry, but there are a couple of misconceptions in this initial post. The first is that spearers are frequent stowaways in Live Rock. Almost all spearers live in burrows in sand or mud. They do not frequent live rock and even if a Pseudosquilla or Raoulserenea were in a rock (the two most likely general to be found in hard substrate), they are less resistant to desication and would almost certainly bail before the rock was shipped. Neogonodactylids from the Caribbean are fairly common in LR and are small and tough as nails frequently surviving even in "well cured" rock.

The second issue is whether it is even possible to order a spearer. Aside from Lysiosquillina maculata which is easily identified as the "large striped brown and yellow mantis shrimp that is eaten", you would be hard pressed to explain to most importers and collectors what you want when you say "spearer". This is a term that I used 27 years ago and while it means something stomatopod lovers, it doesn't mean a thing to most local collectors. Asking for a "yellow" mantis shrimp might get you a P. ciliata since on some reefs the yellow morph does occur, is easy to spot, and there are very few other stomatopods that are solid yellow. However, for every yellow morph, there will be dozens of green, brown, black and sandy colored P. ciliata. They are rare. I recently collected for a month on some of the most pristine reefs in northern Australia and saw only two yellow P. ciliata.

Collectors will only collect what is economically feasible. Most spearers are very difficult to collect alive. It isn't easy getting them out of their burrows in one piece and running them a species like P. ciliata down on a reef flat takes time. On a good day in Hawaii where P.c. populations are some of the highest I've seen, a good day's collection would yield half a dozen. In the same time, I could collect 50 Gonodactylus mutatus and even more valuable fish. If I'm a collector, I might grab a spearer (if I knew what it was and if I knew it was wanted) when I saw one, but I would not be out their specifically targeting them. About the only species of mantis shrimp for which that occurs is O. scyllarus. The collectors know there is a market, you can easily find and collect several on a dive, they are hardy, and the local exporters will pay for them.

i appreciate the input, i never really thought about the collector, as it really doesn't make much sense to chase a smallish animal down in the rock that can possibly harm you, esp when it won't fetch much money. the only time i've seen a spearer shrimp in the area was over a year ago, i think L. maculata (cream colored w/ black bands?) any way i went to that dealer and had a much more productive conversation, as it turns out he was looking for the exact same thing for his own tank and knew what to look for. next time i get ****ed at the fish retail industry i promise not to post here.