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Betty the Butterfly's Blog >>

The Deadly Powers Of Pistol Shrimps


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The Pistol Shrimp is a small species of shrimp that is found in tropical waters and has a distinctive over-sized claw. The roughly 500 species of Pistol Shrimp all differ slightly in appearance and location but share the large boxing-glove claw with the other one being slightly smaller in size.

Although it may seem that Pistol Shrimps have evolved these to have a stronger claw for both hunting and fighting, it is actually designed for these things but works in a very special way. By snapping the claw shut, Pistol Shrimps are able to stun their prey before they are then safe to kill and consume it.




The claws snap together with such force that they produce a stream of water that travels as a pressure bubble at speeds of more than 60mph towards it's prey. Once popped though, a deafening crack is produced that not only emits light for a billionth of a second but also stuns small fish and crabs instantly.

Pistol Shrimps also use their large claws for fighting with rivals competing to see which can make the loudest bang. They are known to be as loud as a jet engine, reaching a sound frequency of around 218 decibels (colonies of Pistol Shrimp are said to sound like heavily sizzling fat to divers).




Not only is such an intense sound produced by the pressure bubble bursting, but for a fraction of second temperatures in the bubble soar to nearly 4,500 degrees Centigrade which is a remarkable outcome from a two centimetre long animal shutting it's claw.

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