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September 10, 2011 / MMasing

Still Think it’s Just a Shrimp?

Hello Everyone,
Time for a new nature post, isn’t it?
Today I heard about an astonishing animal.
One living in the deep blue sea,
or maybe a bit shallower and light blue sea.
It’s about an animal, a shrimp.
Though this time a shrimp with the best nickname ever:
the pistol shrimp.
And.. behind this maybe a bit weird nickname lies a story.
The story of the pistol shrimp… (how obvious):
The pistol shrimps original name is the Alpheidae.
These animals are known by their asymmetrical shape.
And, indeed, how can an animal be asymmetrical?
Well, not that hard, the Alpheidae has one larger claw.
Beside being asymmetrical this shrimp is just 3-5 cm (1-2 inches) long.
Though this shrimp is just this small, the claw gives it a real different sight.
This is due to the claw that can become larger than half the size of the shrimps body.
But what this still little claw can do is that gives this animal this slightly weird nickname.
The claw of the Alpheidae can be put in right-angled position.
Then he snaps the claw together emitting an  enormously powerful wave of bubbles.
This wave is even capable of stunning larger fish and breaking small glass jars!
This amazing snapping gives the
shrimp the nickname pistole shrimp.
This shrimp is competing with much larger
animals like the Sperm Whale
(I know, funny name, google it and you’ll find
out it’s a whale indeed, quite big one too ->)
and the Beluga Whale
(and for the ones who don’t know
what kinda animal that is, look at the picture ->)
for the title ‘loudest animal in the sea’.
Which is quite amazing for such a little animal.
Ok, not the numbers, brace yourself… here we go:
The snapping of the claw creates bubbles that generates
acoustic pressures up to 80 kPa at 4 cm distance from the claw.
The bubbles reach speeds of 60 miles per hour
(which is 97 km/h, and which is fast)
and releases a sound reaching 218 decibel.
(which is much)
The pressure is strong enough to kill small fish.
(which means it’s deathly too)
The bubble reaches temperatures of over 5,000 K
(which is the same as 4,700 °C for the people without acknowledgements about physics).
In comparison, the surface temperature of the sun is estimated to be around 5,800 K
(which is the same as 5,500 °C).
The light is of lower intensity than the light produced by
typical sonoluminescence and is not visible to the naked eye.

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