The Pistol Shrimp - Sonic Weaponry

Alpheid shrimp are a type of snapping shrimp, which have a specialized claw to create a blast of pressure to stun or kill their prey. This motion can also create sonoluminescence, a burst of light from a collapsing cavitation bubble. While the light is not visibile to the naked eye, the pistol shrimp is the only known organism to create light in this way. They are also among the loudest critters in the ocean, competing with whales for the amount of noise they create. Enjoy this unneccessarily melodramatic, but still very cool, video:

Family Alpheidae

* Some other notable features of snapping shrimp. Some have been known to share burrows with gobies in a symbiotic relationship. The crustacean does the digging and the gobey serves as an early warning sign for danger.

* Some species of the genus Synalpheus exhibit large scale social behavior much like insects, with a queen, workers and soldiers living in colonies of hundreds.

* Mr. Snappy and friends are known to transform their puny claw into their "hadoken" claw when the original is removed.

* Alpheid shrimp are the most delicious of all sonoluminescent animals!

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The snapping claw has a dual function. Not only does it produce the killing shockwave, but it forms an acoustic shield to protect the owner from the devastation by diffracting the energy harmlessly away. The explosion is anisotropic -- the energy spreading like a spherical wave -- and thus without the shielding the shock would hurt the (nearer) owner worse than the (farther) prey, owing to the inverse square law.


You had me at 'sonoluminescense!'

This reminds me of that Japanese movie where the guy swings down his sword and the entire earth is sliced in front of him. VERY DragonballZ!

Mantis Shrimp apparently create somnoluminescence as well. There's stunning footage here.

By Spaulding (not verified) on 05 Feb 2008 #permalink

This ALSO reminds me of the Muppet Show skit where pistol-wielding lobsters show up to rescue their friend from the Swedish Chef.

So i gotta ask where was that filmed? Because it looked like that that ROV was wandering through a victorian house dumped mostly intact in a body of water.

And personally i'm a big fan of the Pistol Prawn, or is that the same thing as this guy?

Correction, that is the same as this snapping hadoken claw guy. Hmm it seems i need to update my biological knowledge since i'm still kinda running off my old David Attenborough : the Living Planet series and it's ilk.

Well that's why i read this blog.

oh yes the temperature of the SUN, no doubt.

oh yes the temperature of the SUN, no doubt.

Well, actually the temperature due to the cavitation is given in the Nature article on pistol shrimp is given as "at least 5,000 K" and a few checks seems to give sun surface temperatures about 5,700 K, so it seems in the ballpark if you mean the surface of the sun only.

the pistol shrimp freakin rock!It makes me think of like lobsters shooting up some salmon or somethin

By rahiem tann (not verified) on 04 Mar 2009 #permalink

The sonic waves seperate the oxygen and the hydrogen, making bubbles then igniting the hotest burning gas in known existence. duh, its that simple.

Unfortunately, though the quote can sometimes relate very closely, a lot of times the quote is not ACTUALLY the definition of the word. It's more something on the topic, or something Freud said on the topic, without actually being the definition. Yet again, this is an issue when you're trying to get a very specific definition for a word.