- This topic has 1 reply, 2 voices, and was last updated 17 years ago by Pete Giwojna.
February 22, 2007 at 6:27 pm #1136carrieincoloradoMember
The last time that I actually saw that mantis shrimp that I discovered in my seahorse tank was the day I mentioned it here. Jack, my biggest mustang saw him too, and was eyeing him. I have not seen it or heard it since that day. Do you think it\’s possible that Jack snicked him? He was about 2 1/2 times the size of a Hawaiian shrimp. hmmmmm……February 23, 2007 at 1:05 am #3455Pete GiwojnaGuest
Well, a big Mustang (Hippocampus erectus) is more than capable of taking a crustacean that’s 2-1/2 times the size of those small red feeder shrimp or volcano shrimp. I’ve seen them tackle ghost shrimp and grass shrimp that were quite a bit larger than that. Seahorses are so fond of ghost/grass shrimp that they often attack specimens that are far too big to swallow. In that case, they will attempt to break the back of the shrimp by snapping repeatedly at the carapace. If they are successful in severing the abdomen from the cephalothorax, the seahorses will then slurp up the tail section and head half of the shrimp separately. Or should their victim be so large it cannot even be swallowed in sections, they will snick out mouthfuls of the soft tissue exposed inside the abdomen or thorax.
At times, several seahorses will gang up on one big shrimp this way, like a pack of lions teaming up to bring down a water buffalo that’s too big for any one of them to tackle alone. Under the right circumstances, a sort of slow-motion feeding frenzy may then ensue, with the seahorses playing tug-of-war over the pieces of their prize.
Grass shrimp that are too large to be overcome by such tactics may survive to become long-term residents of the seahorse tank, coexisting with their reluctant tankmates in a sort of uneasy truce. Such die-hard shrimp provide a useful service as scavengers from then on.
We tend to think of our seahorses as gentle, nonaggressive creatures that wouldn’t harm a fly, but in reality they are surprisingly fierce predators in their own right. To small crustaceans, seahorses are the tigers of the grassblade jungle, striking without warning from ambush and devouring anything of the right size that moves.
So it’s certainly possible that Jack may have gained the upper hand with a small mantis shrimp and made a meal of it. Keep a close eye out for any sign of the mantis shrimp to be on the safe side, but it could be that Jack has already solved that problem for you.
Best of luck with your seahorses, Carrie!
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