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Old 12/20/2007, 10:42 AM   #1
Gonodactylus
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The virtues of small Odontodactylus species

O. latirostris, O. brevirostris and O. havanensis are all very similar in size (maximum length 65 mm), personality, habitat requirements, and husbandry needs. They all live at depths below 10 m in open habitats where they construct u-shaped burrows. They are strictly diurnal, hunt away from their burrow and are incredibly fast swimmers that can propel themselves several inches out of the water. They are nearly always watching from their burrow and quickly learn to come out to feed.

Unfortunately, they are very sensitive to water quality, solvents, low oxygen and pH, etc. In a stable system with good water quality, they will live for a couple of years, but in smaller systems, a single perturbation that wouldn't phase a Neogonodactylus wennerae is often fatal. One bit of good news is that they are not prone to shell disease like larger Odontodactylus. Also, you cannot keep a male and female together. Believe me, I have tried dozens of times and even in 24x72 tanks, the out come is always the same, one kills the other.

The ideal tank for any of these species has little or no illumination, a substrate with a mix of sand, gravel, shell, etc., and lots of open space (not much LR and small pieces at that), and good water flow. I usually provide about an inch of substrate with one three or four inch flat rock on the surface for them them start their burrow. At first they will excavate under the rock and construct a burrow with two entrances. Gradually they will gather up pieces of rock, shell and rubble from all over the tank and build in mound over the burrow extending the entrances. This is exactly what they do in the field. Don't be surprised if some day the animal seems to go crazy and tears apart the entire structure. They often remodel, particularly just before a molt.

Because of the need for good, stable water quality, open space, and because they jump, these are not the best animals for small cube systems. However, if you can supply a tank with a large, open area, these small Odontodactylus species are probably the most interesting of all stomatopods to keep. In fact, almost all of the research going on in my lab right now is on these species.

Roy


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Old 12/20/2007, 11:33 AM   #2
lifemalfunction
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Roy, your attention to detail is incredible! Myself (and I'm sure many others) appreciate you sharing your studies with us. Thank you!


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Old 12/20/2007, 01:19 PM   #3
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One little confusion i have...you can keep a male and female of the larger ones together, the smaller ones, or none of the above? Sorry, im researching the possibility of buying a mantis. I have a tank up and running awaiting the right one to come along. Just so happens im looking into the species you are speaking about (O. latirostris). The statement you said "One bit of good news is that they are not prone to shell disease like larger Odontodactylus. Also, you cannot keep a male and female together." is a little misleading can you clarify that for me?


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Old 12/20/2007, 03:31 PM   #4
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When I saw that I had inserted the "Good news" in the wrong place, I tried to edit, but it was over the time limit.

1. You cannot keep a male and female together - period. That is true for all Odontodactylus. I have had "pairs" appear stable for a few weeks, but one always ends up dead.

Roy



Last edited by Gonodactylus; 12/20/2007 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 12/20/2007, 05:38 PM   #5
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In a well fortified 55 gallon tank with tons of LR, and plenty of burrows/hiding places etc; would it be possible to keep a peacock and a havanensis? as long as the small one was established first, and had a secure burrow small enough that the peacock could not squeeze into during a molt. Or like wise, have you tried to cohabitate a O. havanensis with a P. ciliata in a 30+ gallon tank??


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Old 12/20/2007, 10:55 PM   #6
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That was a great article . Kudos Roy

Hey rwhunt I don't think the outcome of housing any two stomatopods for any long period of time would be good.
I have a G. viridis and a L. maculata together and luckily for them my little viridis avoids my Mac like the plague. The L.Mac is about 5-6 inches and never leaves his burrow and my viridis is about 2 inches and lives high in the rockwork. I don't recommend this type of setup but the viridis was a hitch hiker. He is quite active but avoids the corner were my Mac has chosen for his burrow entrance. A good choice is an acrylic divider so you can have the best of both worlds. Hope that helps , sometimes you can get lucky but it's only a matter of time before that little viridis gets a litttle to close or vise versa.


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Old 01/07/2008, 09:20 PM   #7
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After almost 3 weeks with my O. latirostris, I would highly recommend them. I don't know how much individuals vary, but she is extremely active and interactive. Not shy at all. She doesn't even flinch as I clean the glass two inches in front of her face.

She did go sump diving on day two, but I fixed that rather quickly. She has a tendency to swim everywhere rather than crawl... very fast and very cool! I've seen her pounce pods, saltwater mysis, and even the occassional ghost shrimp and hermit crab.

She also has a temper. She was passing my pseudocorynactis and it stuck to her briefly before she jerked away. She tentatively touched it again, at which point it briefly stuck to her once more. She then proceeded to whack the crap out of it and swim back to her hole! She also likes to take out her frustration on rocks that are too big for her to swim (not roll) back to her doorway, whacking them repeatedly, presumably in an attempt to break them down into smaller pieces.

She apparently doesn't like tunicates, having hidden my black sea squirt in the back of the tank out of sight (much to my wife's relief -- she claims it resembles a small dog turd) and she apparently thinks I put all of the palys on the wrong side of the tank (thankfully corrected now!).

"Are you threatening me?"


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Old 01/31/2008, 06:52 AM   #8
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Absolutely delightful!!

Love your post, gholland - I am a new mantis mommy, having my little O. havanensis, and about to embark on a thrill ride with a baby O. scyllarus. Matrix, the havanensis, is about to get moved to a new home - a fantastic tank on my desk, with more of what he likes - lots of shells, and deeper sand. He has decorated his little burrow entrances with shells I gave him, as well as some pretty poslished pieces of sodalite, rose quartz and agate. Quite the little designer! I want to be able to spend more quality time with him, so the move is happening tomorrow!! VERY excited!!!

http://reefcentral.com/gallery/data/...and_Matrix.jpg

Thanks for the wonderful stories of your mantis - I love it!!


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Old 04/01/2008, 10:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gonodactylus
When I saw that I had inserted the "Good news" in the wrong place, I tried to edit, but it was over the time limit.

1. You cannot keep a male and female together - period. That is true for all Odontodactylus. I have had "pairs" appear stable for a few weeks, but one always ends up dead.

Roy
I have a male/female pair of O. havanensis that have been kept with each other for over a year with no problems. They're in a 40 gallon All-Glass "breeder" tank, and have burrows on opposite sides of the tank. They'll occasionally share the left burrow together, but then go back to doing what they normally do, which is peek out and watch for krill.

I've caught them breeding before, but so far I haven't found any babies running around the tank yet.


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Old 08/08/2008, 11:47 AM   #10
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I was wondering about tank size for these Dr. Roy.

Would a standard 29g be a good size? 20L better? or 40 breeder?

Thanks for your time,
Mike

And thanks again for all the great info and advice!


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Old 08/08/2008, 11:54 AM   #11
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I would like to see these guys kept in a 20 gal system although a 10-12 gal will work fine with careful monitoring of water parameters and removal of surplus food and molt skins. Remember, these animals like to bury food and molt skins. What you really want to optimize for these species is bottom area. Tall tanks are not very good. You want to provide lots of room for them to cruise around.

Roy


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Old 08/08/2008, 12:28 PM   #12
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Good to know, thanks.


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Old 11/14/2008, 05:15 PM   #13
Turtall
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hello and great information. This O. brevirostris flew at me from a pool maybe 10 inches deep. It landed on the sand and laid on it's back. We bottled it up and took it home. Right now it's in a small 1.5 gallon tetra tank but we are becoming so enamored by it I am going to upgrade.
It's approximately 2" long and named "Poweena."[IMG]E:\Documents and Settings\Steve and Rhonda\My Documents\My Pictures\Kauaii Since July 23\Views and such... 113.jpg[/IMG]

Here is where we found it.
[IMG]E:\Documents and Settings\Steve and Rhonda\My Documents\My Pictures\Kauaii Since July 23\Views and such... 118.jpg[/IMG]

I hope these images appear, otherwise I'll pursue more education on posting pictures in this forum.


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Old 11/14/2008, 05:31 PM   #14
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Oh, well.... I guess 640 X 480 is too big. I posted the pictures of the O. brevirostris and it's location on this site.

http://www.mantisshrimps.co.uk/forum...c.php?f=4&t=47

Really enjoy all the information, Roy. And Reef Central.


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Old 11/19/2008, 09:38 PM   #15
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I just started caring for a P. ciliata, but I'm now very interested in Odontodactylus brevirostris, and Odontodactylus havanensis. I have a plan to set up a 65 gallon aquarium (48 L/18 W/17H), and divide it in half with a clear acrylic divider. I would also plan on keeping them with maroon clownfish, to fill the upper water column. Would that work? Would they have enough room? Also, up until reading this article, I thought it would be impossible to obtain these species, but I guess not. So can you tell me where to get them. Great article, and thanks for any help in advance.


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Old 11/20/2008, 09:48 AM   #16
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Remember, they jump, climb and dig, so the divider has to be effective. I usually drill a hundred or so quarter inch holes in the plexiglass panel. These are relatively weak smashers, so you don't need a thick piece.

I usually don't recommend keeping fish with stomatopods, but the clowns might work if they are small. I'm more worried about anemones. If you use some, make sure they are not nasty to crustaceans.

I don't know any collectors right now in Hawaii, but I know that there are several and at least some of them know O. brevirostris. Several collectors, some that sell on EBay, can get O. havanensis. Look for guys (and gals) who collect in the Keys.

Roy


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Old 11/20/2008, 08:12 PM   #17
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Thanks for the response, and yes I did think about the divider heigh issue. I would make sure that it goes well above the water line, possible connecting to the top rim. Would bubble tip anemones be okay or do they pack too much of a sting? I did figure it would be easier to get O. havanensis but I really hope I can get a O. brevirostris too.


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Old 02/15/2009, 01:07 PM   #18
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Do these guys require an acrylic tank? Or would they be fine in glass?


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Old 02/15/2009, 03:47 PM   #19
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None of the available small Odontodactylus, O. havanensis, O. brevirostris, O. latirostris require an acrylic tank. Maximum size is about 7 cm and they are actually fairly weak strikers.

Roy


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Old 02/15/2009, 10:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gonodactylus
None of the available small Odontodactylus, O. havanensis, O. brevirostris, O. latirostris require an acrylic tank. Maximum size is about 7 cm and they are actually fairly weak strikers.

Roy
Good to know. Thanks Roy.


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Old 02/04/2011, 01:56 PM   #21
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Thanks for the information Roy. How about a 20 watt actinic PC light for a 40 breeder havanensis aquarium? Should I just stick with room lighting/ no lighting or would the actinic better simulate his natural environment without being too intense? Any thoughts? I want to simulate his natural environment as much as possible.


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Old 02/05/2011, 06:08 PM   #22
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Since I don't use lighting with my animals, I don't keep up on what is available. O. havanensis can handle moderate intensities of light, but the bluer the better.

Roy


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Old 12/09/2011, 10:04 PM   #23
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Looking to add a refugium to my 55 g and 30 g reef set up and plumb all in together.

Recently got two 14 g acrylic tanks. I won't need both for chaeto so would the second make a good home for a mantis ?

Any issue with having shared water with the reef tanks for either the mantis or the other tank inhabitants, or can they all bath together providing they are in their seperate tanks.

As for lighting would reef lighting in the room shed from the tanks be too much for a mantis if it was indirect?

Would rather know if it's a non-starter before I look into getting an animal.

Forgot to mention my system is in the basement with no natural light in the room.



Last edited by PattersM; 12/09/2011 at 10:06 PM. Reason: Fogot to add detail about lighting
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Old 03/15/2013, 12:56 PM   #24
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I was enamoured of the large, colorful spp initially, but am coming around to the smaller guys!


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Old 12/19/2013, 08:57 PM   #25
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Sorry to bring this post back from the dead but I had a question. Where would be the best place to look for brevirostris? I live in Hawaii and ciliata are pretty easy to find with an occasional maculatus but I never see anything else. I understand ciliata are mostly reef flats and sand bottoms so maybe I'm looking in the wrong places. Should I focus more along coral rubble and reef edges? Thanks for the info!


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