Online exhibits : Special exhibits : Secrets of the Stomatopod

Secrets of the Stomatopod: An Underwater Research Adventure

Sharing the job: monogamy and parental care

In most stomatopod groups, after mating with a male, the female stomatopod lays eggs in her burrow. However, in lysiosquillids, one group of spearers, the males and females are monogamous (meaning they stay together and share a burrow). One of the goals of the Aquarius mission was to study different species of monogamous stomatopods.

The male and female live in the same burrow, but have different "jobs"—the female takes care of the eggs and the male hunts for food for both of them! Note that the male in the image at right has much larger eyes and raptorial appendages.

Large stomatopod pair

Above are two of the largest members of this group, about a foot (30 cm) long. The male is at the top, and the female at the bottom.

Female stomatopod Male stomatopod

Above are two of the smallest members of this monogamous group, about the size of a paperclip. On the left, the female is shown with the egg mass, although the male, below, helps take care of the eggs as well.