Stomatopods live rather aggressive lifestyles, including extreme territorial and hunting behavior.  In general, a stomatopod confronted with an intruder to its territory will attack the intruder to try to drive it off [11].  With this as the default behavior, mating requires that the approaching individual (or the individual being approached) signal in some way that it is prepared and willing to mate.  This signal comes in the form of a waving of the raptorial meri, (the large thoracic appendages which give the stomatopod its common name of "Mantis Shrimp"), for the male, or in the form of a presentation of herself for copulation, for the female [12].  Given the aggressive nature of the stomatopod, no mating can occur unless the female is prepared for it.  Mating takes place in(or near) the burrow of the approached individual, and consists of the male inserting his gonadopods into the females gonaodopores.  Following copulation, the males leave the female in some species of stomatopod, although in other species the male remains until the eggs are laid or hatched.  At least one genus (LysiosquillIa) is monogomous [10, 12].

In stomatopods where the mate abandons the burrow after mating, it has been found that a male will reduce aggression towards a female he has mated with for up to two weeks (half the length of brooding by the female, more in Adaptive Value).  In It seems likely that this recognition is mediated by some chemical cue, as males approaching a females burrow while searching for a new one tend to extend their antennules, organs which have been found to be central to the detection of chemical cues [5, 7]. 

Time to cavity entry for stomatopods encountering one of three types of test water (either clean water, the water from the tank of an unknown individual, or the water from the tank of an individual the stomatopod has lost to prefiously). Lines represent cumulative % entered. Copied from Cadwell (1972). 

Many species of stomatopod form monogamous bonds for a mating season, but some, particularly Psudosquilla cliata, not only are capable of but do mate multiple times before laying eggs [12, 13].  Also, though some species of stomatopod breed on a lunar cycle, others simply breed year-round, or else the timing of reproduction is not known[6].  In fact, since very little is known about stomatopod mating, it is difficult to make broad statements about how it works.  Unfortunately, most research on stomatopods in recent years has focused on their eyesight, which is among the best in the Animalia, and so many questions of reproduction for several species have not been examined. 

© 2012 Brendan Kohrn, Reed College