Evolution and systematics

Order Stomatopoda, whose member species are commonly called mantis shrimps or mantis prawns, is included within phylum Arthropoda, subphylum Crustacea, class Malacostraca, and subclass Hoplocarida ("armed shrimp"). The Stomatopoda are sorted into five superfamilies, 17 families, 109 genera, and about 450 species. Mantis shrimps are also commonly called stomatopods, prawn killers, squilla, thumb-splitters, and split-toes; the last two names were coined by fishermen who found out the hard way about mantis shrimp weaponry.

Mantis shrimps are only distant relatives of shrimps and lobsters, despite the inclusion of "shrimp" in the common name and the superficial resemblance between mantis shrimps and shrimps. The Stomatopoda diverged from other mala-costracans (which include lobsters, crabs, and shrimp) about 400 million years ago. The raptorial appendages evolved their initial forms around 200 million years ago.

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