Pistol Shrimp Facts
|Size||1.2-2.4 inch (3-6 cm)|
|Food||Small fish, prawns, krill|
|Habitat||Maldives, Philippines, Sri Lanka|
|Characteristics||Produces a loud snapping sound with its claw|
Play Me the Song of the Shrimp
When pistol shrimps go hunting, they slowly creep up on their prey, seize it with their left claw, unlock the “revolver” in their right claw, and shoot.
With its right claw, the pistol shrimp produces bubbles of air, which implode with a bang and stun or hurt small animals.
Ouch! My Ears!
These stunning shrimps measure just some inch, but produce a noise at more than 200 decibels. Just a comparison: A jet plane "only" reaches a noise level of about 120 decibels.
But there is more to it than that. During the implosion, the water heats up to more than 8,492 degrees Fahrenheit (4,700 degrees Celsius). This is almost as hot as the surface of the sun.
High Noon at the Coral Reef
Billy „The Pistol Shrimp“ Kid and Jesse „Pistol Shrimp“ James face each other in the midday heat. They slowly move forward step by step. The tower bell is tolling. Both draw. And shoot. Sounds like a western? It really is one!
When male pistol shrimps meet, they will have a duel. The aim is to find out who has the bigger gun! Yet, pistol shrimps are true men of honor. They would never hurt or kill one another. They always keep a safe distance.
Ooops, My Revolver Has Disappeared
Pistol shrimps are rather good at keeping their enemies away. But what happens, if one of them manages to harm their pistol arm? For most animals this would result in a painful death. But not for pistol shrimps.
They simply reconfigure their left claw as a pistol claw, while the right stump grows back as a regular claw. The little gunslingers just change from being right-handers to being left-handers.
Alpha Bravo to Echo Foxtrott: We Are Under Attack!
With their harassing fire, pistol shrimps even interfere with the sonar of submarines. They create a genuine noise carpet particularly in the tropical seas that are their home.
- Watch now on animalfunfacts.net:
- Video: Symbiotic Animal Relationships - like the one between pistol shrimp and goby