Juvenile snapping shrimp can achieve the fastest acceleration of any repeatable, underwater motion by a living thing, per a new study
Snapping shrimp create an air bubble in the water when they clamp their claws shut. Jacob Harrison via YouTube
Snapping shrimp—also called pistol shrimp—might have the mightiest claws of all creatures in the ocean.
With a powerful snap of this spring-loaded appendage, the tiny crustaceans shoot out a prey-stunning air bubble—when it pops, it releases a shock wave, a flash of light and a noise about as loud as a gunshot.
“We can’t see the bubble with our naked eyes, it happens too fast, but we can hear when the bubble collapses,” Jacob Harrison, a biomechanics researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology, says in a statement.
The adult snapping shrimp’s rapid claw click is one of the fastest-accelerating repeatable body movements ever recorded underwater. But now, in a new study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, researchers report that juvenile snapping shrimp have broken that record, accelerating their claws shut about 20 times faster than their parents. They even beat the famous punch of the mantis shrimp, reports Catherine Offord for New Scientist.