A side view of the Peacock Mantis Shrimp.  Courtesy of Roy L. Caldwell


Reproduction/Life History

      The peacock mantis shrimp is known to have a few different approaches to mating. Some choose multiple partners, but many generally stay with one individual. They have a way of reproducing that I believe you will find interesting as well as their life span.
     Baby Peacock Mantis Shrimp. Copyright of Roy L. CaldwellThe peacock mantis shrimp generally mate all year round. They mate a couple times throughout the year but the peak mating seasons are during the warmer months of the year. Reproduction occurs nocturnally (Morgan and Goy 1987, Wotham-Neal 2002). The average gestation period for the eggs is around 40 days, but it can range anywhere from 9 to 60 days (Chiu 2013). After the eggs hatch, the large are planktonic, but don't let this fool you, they still have the same vicious raptorial appendages and are still effective predators (BBC 2010).  The large that hatch first have also been known to prey on other larvae. Once they hatch, it usually takes about 35 to 70 days for the males and females to reach sexual maturity.
     The male peacock mantis shrimp tend to more colorful than the females which help them attract mates when it is time to reproduce. Once a male attracts a female through courtship, the mating process can begin. The male releases sperm through its external copulatory organ, which is then collected by the female (Chiu 2013). Once the female collects the sperm it uses it to fertilize the eggs it is holding inside.  Sometimes the females hold the sperm for extended periods of time before they chose to lay the eggs. The females can hold the sperm anywhere from a couple hours to multiple weeks (Morgan and Goy, 1987, San Juan 1998, Wortham-Neal, 2002).
     After the eggs are fertilized, the female then brings them to a burrow for safe development. After the male deposits his sperm with the female he generally does not have any parental investment. They may occasionally guard the burrows of their partner, but that is it. While in the burrow with the eggs the females continue to clean, and aerate the eggs. They usually do not leave the eggs at any time and do not eat while brooding eggs.

Peacock mantis shrimp with a clutch of eggs in Lembeh Straits off Sulawesi, Indonesia.  Copyright Matthew Oldfield

     These organisms generally have a short life span compared to humans. These little guys have been known to live up to around 20 years surprisingly. Throughout their 20 years of life, most tend to stay with one mating partner, but others have been known to be promiscuous and have multiple mating partners (Chiu 2013).

For more information on the person behind the camera who takes all the pictures of this marvelous organims and photos of other amazing pictures visit Matthew Oldfields photography site here.

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