Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


Regional Maps

Order STOMATOPODA Latreille, 1817

Compiler and date details

July 2017 - Shane Ahyong, Australian Museum, Sydney


The Stomatopoda is an order of exclusively marine, predatory malacostracans, the only living representatives of the subclass Hoplocarida (Schram 1986). Their fossil record is poor, but hoplocarid ancestors appear to have diverged from other malacostracans during the Devonian (Hof 1998). The suborder Unipeltata includes all the modern (or `Recent') families and superfamilies of stomatopods. These groups have their origin in the Cretaceous (Schram 1986; Reaka & Manning 1987), and have remained remarkably similar in morphology for 100 million years.

Modern stomatopods are commonly known as mantis-shrimps because of the extraordinary development of the second maxilliped to form a large raptorial claw, similar in appearance to the claws of mantid insects (order Mantodea). Another common name, `Prawn-killers', alludes to their frequent appearance in prawn trawler catches. While stomatopods are assigned to many families and superfamilies, they form only two functional ecological groups known as `spearers' and `smashers' (Caldwell & Dingle 1976). `Spearers' have the dactylus (finger) of the claw variously armed with a row of long forwardly directed spines which effectively penetrate and hold mobile prey species while they are killed. `Smashers' generally lack such spines on the dactylus which is kept closed during the strike. Instead the swollen basal part of the finger is struck suddenly and forcefully against the shells of prey species to kill or stun the victim into immobility.

Over the past 30 years stomatopod taxonomy has undergone a revolution, largely at the hands of one man, the late Raymond Manning of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. Prior to his work a single family, Squillidae, was recognised for modern species, whereas Manning (1995) in his last major work, presented a checklist of Indo-west Pacific taxa which recognised five superfamilies (Bathysquilloidea, Squilloidea, Gonodactyloidea, Lysiosquilloidea, and Erythrosquilloidea), and nineteen families. Two additional superfamilies, Eurysquilloidea and Parasquilloidea, were recognised by Ahyong & Harling (2000). Prior to the work of Manning, Kemp (1913) was the most significant revisionary work. He recognised six genera and 126 species. There are now in excess of 100 genera and over 450 species worldwide. Sixty-four genera and 149 species are listed for the Australian fauna.

The many genera, each containing relatively few species, have been considered to represent relict distributional patterns consistent with the antiquity of the Stomatopoda and a former Tethyan distribution (Reaka & Manning 1987). There have been relatively few attempts to understand the phylogenetic relationships of the Stomatopoda, but recently Ahyong (1997), Hof (1998) and Ahyong & Harling (2000) published the results of cladistic analyses.

The most comprehensive modern treatment of the Stomatopoda, including keys, is given by Ahyong (2001), supplemented by Ahyong (2008). Previous works dealing with Australian genera and species are: Stephenson (1952, 1953a, 1953b, 1953c, 1955, 1960, 1962, 1967); Stephenson & McNeill (1955); Manning (1966); Ahyong & Norrington (1997); Ahyong (1998); Ahyong & Manning (1998); Ahyong et al. 1998, 2000); and Ahyong & Naiyanetr (2000). Ahyong (2001) gave a comprehensive revision of the Australian stomatopod fauna.



Antennules triflagellate. Carapace reduced so as to expose fifth to eighth thoracic somites. Thorax highly tagmatised; anterior 5 segments fused with various sized subchelate appendages, with merus equal to or longer than carpus; posterior three segments with stilt-like stenopods. Pleopods biramous and flap-like, with gills carried on proximal part of exopods. Tailfan typically elaborate, forming, with uropods, a specialised structure that supports abdomen off substrate.


General References

Ahyong, S.T. 1997. A phylogenetic analysis of the Stomatopoda (Crustacea: Malacostraca). Journal of Crustacean Biology 17(4): 695-715

Ahyong, S.T. 1998. Review of Neoanchisquilla Moosa, 1991 and Neclorida Manning, 1995 (Crustacea: Stomatopoda: Squilloidea), with descriptions of two new species of Neoanchisquilla from the Indian Ocean. Records of the Australian Museum 50: 217-229

Ahyong, S.T. 2001. Revision of the Australian Stomatopod Crustacea. Records of the Australian Museum Suppl. 26: 1-326

Ahyong, S.T. 2008. Stomatopod Crustacea from the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 73: 41–55

Ahyong, S.T., Chan, T.-Y. & Liao, Y.J. 1998. A new stomatopod (Crustacea: Malacostraca) of the genus Harpiosquilla Holthuis, 1964, from Taiwan and Australia. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 111(4): 929-935 figs 1, 2 [published Dec. 1998]

Ahyong, S.T., Chan, T.-Y. & Liao, Y.J. 2000. Oratosquillina manningi, a new species of stomatopod from Taiwan and Australia. Journal of Crustacean Biology 20: 42-47 figs 1, 2

Ahyong, S.T. & Harling, C. 2000. The phylogeny of the stomatopod Crustacea. Australian Journal of Zoology 48: 607-642

Ahyong, S.T. & Manning, R.B. 1998. Two new species of Erugosquilla from the Indo-West Pacific (Crustacea: Stomatopoda: Squillidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 111(3): 653-662

Ahyong, S.T. & Naiyanetr, P. 2000. Revision of the Clorida latreillei species complex with description of a new species (Stomatopoda: Squillidae). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 48: 313-325, figs 1-4

Ahyong, S.T. & Norrington, S.F. 1997. Stomatopod Crustacea in the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 118: 97-110

Caldwell, R.L. & Dingle, H. 1976. Stomatopods. Scientific American 234: 80-89

Hof, C.H.J. 1998. Fossil stomatopods (Crustacea: Malacostraca) and their phylogenetic impact. Journal of Natural History 32(10/11): 1567-1576

Kemp, S. 1913. An account of the Crustacea Stomatopoda of the Indo-Pacific Region based on the collection in the Indian Museum. Memoirs of the Indian Museum 4(1): 1-217, 9 pls

Manning, R.B. 1966. Notes on some Australian and New Zealand stomatopod Crustacea, with an account of the species collected by the Fisheries Investigation Ship Endeavour. Records of the Australian Museum 27(4): 79-137 figs 1-10

Reaka, M.L. & Manning, R.B. 1987. The significance of body size, dispersal potential, and habitat, for rates of morphological evolution in stomatopod Crustacea. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology No. 448: 1-46

Schram, F.R. 1986. Crustacea. London, New York : Oxford University Press 606 pp.

Stephenson, W. 1952. Faunistic records from Queensland. Part I. — General Introduction. Part II — Adult Stomatopoda (Crustacea). University of Queensland Papers, Department of Zoology 1(1): 1-15

Stephenson, W. 1953. Notes on Australian Stomatopoda (Crustacea) in collections of the Queensland Museum. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 13(1): 40-49

Stephenson, W. 1953. Three new Stomatopoda (Crustacea) from Eastern Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 4(1): 201-218

Stephenson, W. 1955. Notes on stomatopod Crustacea from Victoria and Tasmania. Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria, Melbourne 19: 1-4

Stephenson, W. 1960. Notes on Queensland Stomatopoda (mantis shrimps). Queensland Naturalist 16(3–4): 61

Stephenson, W. 1962. Some interesting Stomatopoda—mostly from Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 45(2): 33-43

Stephenson, W. 1967. A comparison of Australasian and American specimens of Hemisquilla ensigera (Owen, 1832) (Crustacea: Stomatopoda). Proceedings of the United States National Museum 120(3564): 1-18

Stephenson, W. & McNeill, F. 1955. The Australian Stomatopoda (Crustacea) in the collection of the Australian Museum, with a check list and key to the known Australian species. Records of the Australian Museum 23(5): 239-265


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
28-Sep-2017 STOMATOPODA Latreille, 1817 27-Jul-2017 MODIFIED Dr Shane Ahyong
19-Feb-2015 STOMATOPODA Latreille, 1817 18-Feb-2015 REVIEWED Dr Federica Turco
30-May-2012 30-May-2012 MOVED
10-May-2012 10-May-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)