Most new things seen in our aquarium are found at night with flashlights. It was one such night when we found a snail-looking specimen, with tiny white and yellow spots, but seemed to have no shell. We immediately got to searching online trying to identify this creature, and concluded it to be a Stomatella.
Stomatella’s are small snails that actually do have shells, although the shells are small and not always obvious. Our Stomatella is black, with a black shell, so it is hard see that there is actually a flat shell present. They grow less than an inch, are reef safe, and range in colors from brown, orange, green and black. We were able to get a video of him, although the lighting and quality is not great as it was taken at night.
When we asked our go-to guy at our LFS about this Stomatella, he said they are not often seen since most only come out at night. Many people have brown ones, and having a black one is pretty cool. You can buy these guys from fish stores, but ours hitch-hiked on the live rock we put into our tank so it’s a freebie!
Upon further reading we found that they are herbivores, eating micro-algae in the tank and great additions to our clean-up crew. However, some Wrasse species (a type of fish) and peppermint shrimp have been known to eat them. We do not have any Wrasse currently, but we do have peppermint shrimp. We have only seen one Stomatella so far, or at least one at a time, but may never see him again if our peppermint shrimp gets him, and catching our peppermint shrimp will probably be quite the feat as we rarely see them. Since the initial sighting, we have seen him a few more times, and often during the day. Time will tell whether he lives or not, but until them, we will keep an eye out for him and hope for the best.