Fossils of the spiny-tailed proto-mantis shrimp, Daidal acanthocercus, have only been identified in the exceptionally preserved Carboniferous Bear Gulch Limestone of central Montana.
However, other species of proto-mantis shrimp have been found in Carboniferous sediments elsewhere in:
Daidal acanthocercus was a benthic crustacean.
The Bear Gulch Limestone fauna which D. acanthocercus is part of includes a wide variety of spectacularly preserved fossils, including:
This fauna probably represents a shallow near-shore marine basin or estuary in a tropical water marine environment.
This proto-mantis shrimp was likely a scavenger or predator of relatively small-bodied prey. The prey probably included several species of invertebrates that are found in the same deposits, such as: