The Superman of the Shrimp World

April 22, 2014 at 4:35 PM Leave a comment

Wow.  The peacock mantis shrimp is one amazing shrimp:

The peacock mantis shrimp, or stomatopod, is a 4- to 6-inch-long rainbow-colored crustacean with a fist-like club that accelerates underwater faster than a 22-calibur bullet. Researchers, led by Kisailus, an associate professor of chemical engineering, are interested in the club because it can strike prey thousands of times without breaking.

The force created by the impact of the mantis shrimp’s club is more than 1,000 times its own weight. It’s so powerful that Kisailus needs to keep the animal in a special aquarium in his lab so it doesn’t break the glass. Also, the acceleration of the club creates cavitation, meaning it shears the water, literally boiling it, forming cavitation bubbles that implode, yielding a secondary impact on the mantis shrimp’s prey.


Here’s a YouTube video of a peacock shrimp hunting a little crab.  The sound of his “club” beating on the crab helps illustrate why researchers had to keep “the animal in a special aquarium” so it didn’t break the glass.


I have new respect for shrimp.


Entry filed under: Animals (Other Than Us).

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