Monday, April 4, 2011

WTFWiki 5: Pistol Shrimp

After a busy weekend, I believe it's time to get back to it.

Nature freaks me out.  Let's be honest, there are some weird fucking life forms on our planet and a large portion of them come from our oceans.  I know, I know.. now you're expecting an article on a giant squid or some other horrifying eldritch creature.  Instead, check out this crazy ass shrimp:


From Wikipedia:

"Alpheidae is a family of caridean snapping shrimp characterized by having asymmetrical claws, the larger of which is typically capable of producing a loud snapping sound. Other common names of these species include pistol shrimp or alpheid shrimp."
Cool story bro.

They look innocuous enough, and the beginning of the article sounds pretty boring.. but wait.. scroll down to the third section entitled "Snapping Effect."

"The snapping shrimp competes with much larger animals like the Sperm Whale and Beluga Whale for the title of 'loudest animal in the sea'. The animal snaps a specialized claw shut to create a cavitation bubble that generates acoustic pressures of up to 80 kPa at a distance of 4 cm from the claw. As it extends out from the claw, the bubble reaches speeds of 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) and releases a sound reaching 218 decibels.[8] The pressure is strong enough to kill small fish.[9] It corresponds to a zero to peak pressure level of 218 decibels relative to one micropascal (dB re 1 μPa), equivalent to a zero to peak source level of 190 dB re 1 μPa at the standard reference distance of 1 m. Au and Banks measured peak to peak source levels between 185 and 190 dB re 1 μPa at 1 m, depending on the size of the claw.[10] Similar values are reported by Ferguson and Cleary.[11] The duration of the click is less than 1 millisecond.
The snap can also produce sonoluminescence from the collapsing cavitation bubble. As it collapses, the cavitation bubble reaches temperatures of over 5,000 K (4,700 °C).[12] In comparison, the surface temperature of the sun is estimated to be around 5,800 K (5,500 °C). The light is of lower intensity than the light produced by typical sonoluminescence and is not visible to the naked eye. It is most likely a by-product of the shock wave with no biological significance. However, it was the first known instance of an animal producing light by this effect"
 Sonolumiwhat??  What the fuck!?!

So what you're saying is.. this fucking shrimp snaps his claw shut so hard that he shoots fireballs??  UNDERWATER??   This is the crustacean equivalent of arm-mounted plasma cannons.  Whatever pitiful fish this thing goes after is fucked! 

I am done with the ocean.  Forever.  Too scared of Megaman shrimp..


  1. thats a shrimp?? what the ......
    meh... I'd eat it!!

  2. Yeah, right, fireballs and shrimps. Lets just cook them.

  3. What?!? No, I'm never going to the beach again.

  4. Shrimps. They're pink and they taste bad.

  5. That is some weird shit. All I know is I eat them!