Significance to humans

The presence of stomatopoda can enable ecologists to gauge the health of coral reef ecosystems. Reef-dwelling stomatopods are especially sensitive to adverse conditions such as the introduction of petroleum, sewage, and agricultural runoff. Censuses of stomatopod populations on coral reefs are undertaken frequently to estimate the health or contamination of the reefs.

Keeping mantis shrimps in aquaria has become a fairly popular hobby among marine pet keepers who prefer the unusual. There are books and Web sites covering aspects of maintaining stomatopods in home aquariums.

Species of the family Squilla are edible and tasty. Originally overlooked as commercial food sources because individuals of most species live solitarily, which makes harvesting difficult, a fishery industry harvesting Squilla mantis is underway in the Mediterranean and Adriatic.

1. Lysiosquillina maculata; 2. Nannosquilla decemspinosa; 3. Peacock mantis shrimp (Odontodactylus scyllarus). (Illustration by John Megahan) 172 Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia

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