Gonodactylaceus Ternatensis

This beautiful little creature is the largest of the Gonodactylaceus group and is very commonly confused with an immature “peacock” or Odontodactylus scyllarus based on the vaguely similar coloration of the carapice and raptoral appendages.


As you can see, the “Peacock” on the left has the identifying marks on the carapice, while there are somewhat similar markings on the raptoral appendages of the Gonodactylaceus Ternatensis. Anyone who is familiar with them will spot the difference immediately, but someone who is only casually aware of the stomapod could easily mistake the two. considering that the two have drastically different housing needs, this mistake can be disastrous.

The Gonodactylaceus Ternatensis has several very striking and easily identifiable ways to identify the species as well as the sex.

1.  Red inter-segmental line


This bright red line is a dead giveaway that you’re looking at Gonodactylaceus Ternatensis. While other Gonodactylaceus may have the line, Ternatensis is probably what you’re looking at.


2. Orange Meral Spot


Both sexes of Gonodactylaceus Ternatensis have a bright orange meral spot. The bright color means you’re probably going to be able to see the spot from most angles.


Sexing the Gonodactylaceus Ternatensis is fairly easy. The Antennal scales are blue on a male or orange/yellow on a female.



Since Gonodactylaceus Ternatensis live in shallow reef areas, making their homes in finely branching coral, their harvesting often causes much damage to the reef. Due to this, it is strongly encouraged that you don’t seek them out. However, you may find yourself suddenly presented with the opportunity to adopt a hitchhiker that found its way to your local fish store. If you’re going to give this stunning creature a new home, you should take effort to create an optimal environment for it.

the G. Ternatensis will be quite happy in a brightly lit reef environment. Be aware that they may break bits of coral to create a home as well as chip off bits of coral to “decorate” their den. As a means to ensure that your G. Ternatensis is happy, you can provide a pre-made den for it. Many use a section of PVC pipe, though don’t be surprised if your pet chooses to ignore your attempt and create a den of their own.

As with any mantis shrimp, you should be aware that there is a chance that the Gonodactylaceus Ternatensis’ predatory habits may mean a fairly short life for any cohabitants. However, some have kept them successfully with fish.

In the video above and below you can easily identify a very colorful male G. Ternatensis. Note the PVC home, a common sight in most mantis tanks.

In the video below you can see cohabitants consisting of clown fish and a goby.



The following information is copied from Roy’s List of stomapods.

Common name: None

Functional type: Smasher

Range: Central Pacific to southern China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and Australia

Habitat: Live coral specialist, usually in finely branching corals

Depth: Low intertidal to 10 m; usually found in bright, shallow waters

Home: Chips out cavities in center of live, branching corals

Diet: Crustaceans and gastropods; little is known of its diet in the wild

Size: 8–120 mm (this is the largest species of gonodactylid)

Color: Sexually color dimorphic; body of both sexes dark green with red inter-segmental stripes; males with blue antennal scales and uropods; females with orange or yellow antennal scales and uropods; meral spot bright orange

Distinguishing Characters: Orange meral spot; red inter-segmental line (occasionally seen in Gonodactylus smithii)

Activity: Diurnal

Aquarium Requirements:
Temperature: 22–29° C
Salinity: 33–35 PSU
Cohabitants: Will eat small crustaceans and gastropods; will chip live, branching coral
Aquarium size (adult): 40 l
Aquarium substrate: Sand and gravel; cavity or branching coral

Suitability for Aquarium: Good; will break coral and requires stable water parameters; one concern is that this species is often collected from live coral heads that may be destroyed in the collecting process

Availability: Occasional, particularly in shipments from Indonesia


If there is any additional information you would like to add or correct, just let me know!

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