New member
I cleaned the tank of our smaller O. scyllarus tonight, left for a few hours, and came back to find a second mantis living in the tank! While the big peacock sat in her burrow, a tiny 1-1.5" mantis was crawling out in the open on top of the biggest rock in the tank. It was bright green, and about half the diameter of a pencil. Looked like a miniature Hawaiian ciliated mantis. I'm glad my husband was right there to see it too, or I'd think I was hallucinating. Too many diet colas or something. :)

So, a question for Dr. Caldwell. This female peacock had an egg mass back in May. We're doubtful, but could this possibly be a baby O.S.? Just what does an O.S. postlarvae look like? We were pretty sure that she ate all the eggs, but there might have been scraps she missed. Most of the live rock in the tank is about a year old, and I have no clue where it was harvested (or even where I bought it).

I'll try to take a pic, but considering we hadn't seen it for so long, we're not sure we'll ever see it again. But, we're working on a plan to move the big rock into another tank. Boy is the peacock going to be upset....

Highly unlikely. We don't know much about the larval biology of O.s., but we know that postlarvae settle at around 30-35 mm total length. The ones I have seen in the field had a yellow body color with the usual colored appendages. THey don't darken until they are considerably larger. Small gonodactylids can literally live for years in cavities in live rock and if the entrance was facing away from your field of view, you might not ever see them.

Okay, here's a pic of the little guy. He's hiding behind the macroalgae in the middle of the photo. At the time the big peacock was smashing open a clam, and I think the little one was eager to find the scraps. Got to be living high on the hog, with all the food the peacock tosses on the trash heap!


Well, it is pretty hard to see, but I think your original guess of Pseudosquilla may have been right. If it is, the eyes will have a checker board appearence.

Heh, I'd have to be very lucky to get a close look at its eyes. I had to sit for more than 15 minutes by the tank just to get the shot of it hiding under macroalgae! It's really camera-shy. I think it was a total fluke to catch it waltzing across the open area the first time. Little mantises seem to be extremely shy, while both of my big O. scyllarus have very little fear of anything.

Thanks for the advice, though! If I ever get a better pic or a good look at the eyes, I'll post about it.

Oh, one last question. The tiny mantis lives on a large piece of rock, maybe 5 pounds. I could move the rock to an open Eclipse 6, but it would take up most of the volume of the tank. Would this be enough water to support the mantis?

I would leave it where it is and enjoy the occasional glimpse. One large piece of rock in a small tank is risky. Five pounds of small pieces gives a lot more surface to volume and a much more stable system. If somethings goes wrong, your one big piece tank could collapse in a heartbeat. (This assumes that the piece is relatively solid. If it is very 3-D and porous, it probably would work.