Stomatopods are primarily tropical or subtropical, shallow-water marine animals, with a few species in cool temperate or subantarctic waters. Most species prefer the intertidal or sub-tidal zones. Exceptions are species of superfamily Bathysquil-loidea, which set up and keep house on outer continental shelf habitats down to 4,920 ft (1,500 m) below sea level.
Spearers prefer soft, sandy, or muddy sea bottoms for homemaking, digging out burrows or moving into burrows abandoned by other creatures. Smashers prefer to seek out and move into suitably shaped and sized hollows in hard substrates such as coral and rock. Species of the Gonodactyloid superfamily favor the hard, rough substrates like rock and coral, and so are the dominant stomatopod species on coral reefs. Species within the superfamilies Squilloidea and Lysiosquilloidea burrow in soft, level, shallow sea bottoms of sand.
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