This mantis shrimp, Odontodactylus havanensis, is hand collected from the Florida Keys. This is a very colorful and animated shrimp that has more colors and nuances than can be described. You’ll just have to look at the picture to see what it looks like, or go to Roy Caldwell’s site to see more pictures and information.
Because mantis shrimp are mean, agressive shrimp, they are not for everyone. They should not be kept in a community aquarium that has fish or other shrimp because they will eventually attack and eat all but the biggest and baddest fish. Although this shrimp does not get much bigger than about 3 long, it’s 3″ of terror to most other reef inhabitants, so be careful. All mantis shrimps have very sharp “claws” called raptorial appendages that they use to catch prey, and these appendages are quite capable of slicing your finger open, so never handle them, and be careful when you put your hands in the tank to clean or move things around.
Mantis shrimp are easy to care for and will eat almost anything. They like to live in some sort of burrow, so try to provide some sort of tube or cave for them to live in. This particular species of mantis shrimp likes to build elaborate burrows in the sand and rubble, much like a jawfish would, so a deep sand/rubble bed would be best (but is not necessary). I don’t know how this shrimp will get along with other mantis shrimp, so I would advise caution if you’re mixing them. Clams, hard and sort corals, and larger crabs are probably safe to keep with these shrimp, although their burrowing activities may undermine rock structures and bury corals. They will crush and eat thin-shelled clams and snails though, so keep that in mind when you buy snails for algae control. They have a tough time eating astrea snails, so they would be the best choice of Caribbean snails to keep with these shrimp.
Small: <1.75 inches
Normal: >1.75 to 2.5 inches
Large: >2.5 inches