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Phylum Arthropoda > Subphylum Crustacea > Class Malacostraca > Order Stomatopoda
Smasher mantis shrimp
Gonodactylus chiragra
Family Gonodactylidae
updated Oct 2016
Where seen? This shrimp-like animal is sometimes seen on our Southern shores, near reefs and among seagrasses. It is more active at night. Elsewhere it is found in shallow waters, in upper intertidal zone in reef flats under rocks and boulder, or inside coral and rock crevices. It moves actively between coral heads hunting for prey.

Features: 5-7cm long, up to 10.5cm long. Body long, cylindrical, plain with lines of white spots on the narrow tail.
Males are dark green while females are whitish green. The huge front pincers are modified into clubs. These are used to bludgeon shelled prey. While snails and clams are simply dragged back to the burrow, crabs are often first immobilised by blows to the claws and legs. In the safety of the burrow, the victim's shell is further cracked. The blows of smasher mantis shrimp are so powerful that they have been known to break aquarium glass!

Pulau Semakau, Feb 09

Pincers modified into smashing clubs.
Sisters Island, Jun 07

Hiding next to a seagrass blade.
Pulau Semakau, Aug 07

Spearer mantis shrimps on Singapore shores

Photos of Spearer mantis shrimps for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map


Terumbu Raya, May 10
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her blog.

Cyrene, Aug 17

Photo shared by Abel Yeo on facebook.


Pulau Semakau East, Jan 16
Photo shared by Lisa Lim on facebook.

Pulau Semakau North, Apr 17
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.



Pulau Semakau North, Apr 17
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.

Links References
  • Lim, S., P. Ng, L. Tan, & W. Y. Chin, 1994. Rhythm of the Sea: The Life and Times of Labrador Beach. Division of Biology, School of Science, Nanyang Technological University & Department of Zoology, the National University of Singapore. 160 pp.
  • Jones Diana S. and Gary J. Morgan, 2002. A Field Guide to Crustaceans of Australian Waters. Reed New Holland. 224 pp.
  • Debelius, Helmut, 2001. Crustacea Guide of the World: Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean IKAN-Unterwasserachiv, Frankfurt. 321 pp.
  • Gosliner, Terrence M., David W. Behrens and Gary C. Williams. 1996. Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific: Animal life from Africa to Hawaii exclusive of the vertebrates Sea Challengers. 314pp.
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