Stomatopods (Crustacea, Stomatopoda) are well studied for their aggressive behavior and unique visual system as well as their commercial importance in Asian and European countries. Like many crustaceans, stomatopods undergo indirect development, passing though several larval stages before reaching maturity. Adult stomatopods can be difficult to catch due to their inaccessible habitats and cryptic coloration. By sampling larvae from the planktonic community, less effort is required to obtain accurate measures of species richness within a region. Stomatopod larvae were collected between 2006 and 2015 from the waters around the Lizard Island reef platform in Eastern Australia. Cytochrome oxidase I (COI) mitochondrial DNA sequences were generated from each larval sample and compared to a database of COI sequences tied to adult specimens. Of the 20 species collected from Lizard Island as adults which have COI data available, 18 species were identified from larval sampling. One additional species identified from larval samples, Busquilla plantei, was previously unknown from Lizard Island. Nine larval OTUs were found not to match any published adult sequences. Sampling larval stomatopod populations provides a comparable picture of the adult population to benthic sampling methods and may include species richness beyond what is measurable by sampling adult populations.
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We would like to thank T. Cronin and R. Caldwell for sharing techniques for stomatopod larval collections and their extensive records of Stomatopod taxa found at Lizard Island; and to N.J. Marshall, L. Vail, and A. Hoggett as well as the staff of the Lizard Island Research Station for making fieldwork possible. This work would not have been possible without initial encouragement from R. K. Balan. This work was supported by the Isobel Bennett Marine Biology Fellowship from the Australian Museum to M.L.P. and by grants from The Crustacean Society to K.D.F. and the National Science Foundation to T. Cronin (IOS721608). K.D.F. was also supported by a grant from the US Airforce Office of Scientific Research (FA8655-12-2112) under the mentorship of N.W. Roberts.