Ok, some are going to say I'm cruel... but I whacked a mantis shrimp last night. I know I'm not alone in this approach. I might have tried to capture him for a LFS
or somesuch, but I doubt my local one would take him and I don't have anyone around me who'd be inclined to put him anywhere. Besides that, I'm not sure he was in tip-top shape anyway.
I got 40 pounds of LR
from liverocks.com Wednesday. I found this guy puttering around in the bag underneath the rock as I removed it. I threw him in a bowl of tankwater along with various crabs, an urchin, etc., that I encountered as I was unpacking things. He was moving his legs a mile a minute, but not really getting around much. He was about 1.5 - 2 inches long.
At this point, I had no idea what he was.
A few hours later after the tank was done, I looked in the bowl and he was still semi-active. I figured what the heck and threw him in the tank (again, not knowing what he was). He curled up against a piece of rock and ran his legs all evening but never moved from that location. I figured I'd be fishing his corpse out early the next morning but would give him a chance.
The next morning he was gone. Couldn't see him anywhere. That night I was reading about LR
hitchhikers and found this photo of one of these guys along with all the warnings of impending doom, livestock murder, thumb wounds, etc. It was one of those moments where you feel like a real tool.
Last night I decided to go hunting. My wife watched as I stood on a stool and did the "one arm in the tank up to your armpit while semi-blind to what you're doing" routine. I started lifting pieces of rock near where I left him and my wife saw him rush out and head to the back. I chased him a little and he ran under and then into my biggest, craggiest piece of LR
that has little caves in it.
To make a long story short, he kept trying to hide but I kept chasing him out and eventually he took off across the tank again and into a corner where he had no cover. By this point I had gone to my workroom and gotten one of those two-foot long flexible tools with a plunger on top and little grabbers. You use them for fishing out screws, etc., that you've dropped down in tight spaces. I figured I had no hope, but it's worth a try...
On the first shot I managed to snag him and pulled him out. The claws of my grabber tool were wrapped around his midsection but not piercing him. He was wriggling rather madly as you might expect. I left him in the grabber and dunked the whole thing down into a bucket of tankwater that was holding a small collection of recently moved bio-balls. I checked him every few hours as I decided what to do and he was still kicking.
This morning he had expired. His initial health when I put him in the tank paired with the fact that I actually caught him tells me he wasn't in great shape anyway. Sorry to kill anything in my tank, but I've got no real desire for a mantis getting healthy and prowling for my current or future expensive livestock.
For those with major curiosity, I took some macro shots of him in detail so you can see one -extremely- close. They definitely appear to be built as killing machines.
Hope the mantis-lovers forgive me and the rest find the photos interesting!
Photos are here (single sample attached below):