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Old 12/20/2007, 10:42 AM
Gonodactylus Gonodactylus is offline
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Location: Berkeley, CA, USA
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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.

Old 12/20/2007, 11:33 AM
lifemalfunction lifemalfunction is offline
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Location: Bellingham, WA
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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!
Old 12/20/2007, 01:19 PM
craiglanda craiglanda is offline
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One little confusion i 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?
Beware of the fish people, they are the true enemy. - Frank Zappa
Old 12/20/2007, 03:31 PM
Gonodactylus Gonodactylus is offline
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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.


Last edited by Gonodactylus; 12/20/2007 at 03:36 PM.
Old 12/20/2007, 05:38 PM
rwhhunt rwhhunt is offline
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Location: Athens, GA
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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??
Old 12/20/2007, 10:55 PM
Gangsta Nemo Gangsta Nemo is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Cary ,NC
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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.
Old 01/07/2008, 09:20 PM
gholland gholland is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
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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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