These are a Few of My Favorite Species: Pistol Shrimp

Photo by on Flickr (cc)

Photo by budak on Flickr (cc)

My dream day includes Clint Eastwood and I drinking bourbon, smoking cigars, and watching The Outlaw Josey Wales. At one of the most memorable moments in the film, Clint as Josey Wales states “Are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?” Shortly after projectile shenanigans ensue. Like Josey, Pistol Shrimp (Family Alpheidae), are entering guns blazing. Pistol shrimp possess one extraordinarily large claw with specialized joint allowing the claw to be cocked. Once released the claw snaps creating a cavitation bubble capable of creating a sonic boom. That bubble reaches speeds of 60 mph and reaches 218 decibels. That Rage Against the Machine concert you attended a decade ago and are still recovering from probably only reached 115 decibels. Pain starts at 125 decibels. This death bubble is more than sufficient to kill small fish and stun larger ones. The only thing that would make Pistol Shrimp more awesome would be calling them Clint Eastwood Shrimp.

Below is great video showing the cavitation bubble

Image by Ria Tan on Flickr (cc)

Image by Ria Tan on Flickr (cc)

Image by budak on Flickr (cc)

Image by budak on Flickr (cc)

Dr. M (1771 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.


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