La crevette pistolet

The pistol shrimp

Being called a shrimp doesn't exactly mean you're known for having considerable strength or an intimidating presence . But there's a strange little wonder of the sea - the pistol shrimp - that crushes this stereotype spectacularly.

She's so powerful that she doesn't just shoot and annihilate her prey : she's destabilized the U.S. Navy, landed a superhero role on Netflix, and even helped researchers make progress in the fight against climate change . Find out everything you need to know about this strange animal by reading our article!

Snapping shrimp

The pistol shrimp, also known as the snapping shrimp , earns its reputation at sea by creating something seemingly childish and harmless: bubbles . But these are no ordinary bubbles: they make a noise louder than a gun and generate enormous heat .

Pistol shrimp and their built-in weapon

Pistol shrimp have evolved a unique method for hunting prey , drilling through rock, and protecting themselves from other shrimp. They use their oversized claw as a built-in weapon, without the need for a fancy holster or ammo.

Their oversized pincer is their built-in weapon

Pistol shrimp do not need a sophisticated weapon for defense or hunting. Their single oversized pincer, which can reach half the size of their small body, is their built-in weapon.

How do pistol shrimp shoot their deadly bubbles?

Pistol shrimp are capable of producing deadly bubbles at astonishing speed to kill their prey or protect themselves.

  • Water fills the small hook : When the shrimp opens its large snapper claw, the water fills the small hook.
  • Impressive force creates the bubble : By closing the clamp with impressive force, a piston-like part expels water at a speed as fast as a car driving down the highway.
  • The bubble kills everything in its path : The bubble created by the pistol shrimp kills everything in its path, making it a formidable weapon.
  • The noise is burlesquely loud : When the bubble bursts, it produces a noise so loud that can be heard underwater.

Bubbles are louder than a gun and hotter than lava

These sharp-shooting crustaceans are far from silent. Their bubbles reach 218 decibels , which is louder than a fired bullet . For us humans, the sound isn't that loud, but that's because the explosion only lasts a tiny fraction of a second.

When the bubble bursts, it generates heat that reaches 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit ( 4,427 degrees Celsius ), four times hotter than lava. The heat dissipates quickly and there are no lasting effects (except for the unfortunate little creature who felt its burn).

Six fun facts about the pistol shrimp

The pistol shrimp has some fascinating characteristics that make it unique among other shrimp.

  • They have excellent eyesight : Pistol shrimp have incredibly sharp vision and can see objects at a distance of three times their body length.
  • They have a stronger claw than any other shrimp : The oversized claw of pistol shrimp is stronger than any other shrimp's claw.
  • They are able to pierce rock : Pistol shrimp are able to pierce rock to create burrows and protect themselves.
  • They can produce bubbles of different sizes : Pistol shrimp can produce bubbles of different sizes, depending on their needs.
  • They are solitary : Pistol shrimp are generally solitary and fiercely defend their territory.
  • They can move quickly : Pistol shrimp are able to move quickly thanks to their powerful legs.

They (almost) interfered with the Second World War

The mighty pistol shrimp wreaked improbable havoc on the U.S. Navy's defense plan during World War II. The " snap-crackle-pop " sound began to interfere with the sonar used to detect enemy ships, leading sailors to call in researchers from the University of California's Division of War Research.

inhabitants of the sea

Fortunately, they found the source and recorded the shrimp's sounds to teach sonar operators to recognize them as marine inhabitants rather than enemies.

A reassuring sound for the marine ecosystem

Yet, while sometimes annoying to us humans, the sound created by pistol shrimp is not always problematic. It can reflect the health of the coral reef , because lots of hunting means lots of life and a balanced ecosystem. Noise can also help other sea creatures navigate the area.

Their clicking mechanism helps researchers create a clean energy source

Pistol shrimp inspire English researchers who are working to replicate the process that heats the sun , fusion energy, to create an abundance of clean , safe energy, giving a big boost to the fight against change climatic.

Fusion energy requires a high-velocity projectile to create a shockwave and collapse a plasma- filled cavity, and gun shrimp are the only creatures on Earth that naturally possess such powers.

They can regrow a lost appendage AND change weapon hands

The snapper 's monstrous claw does indeed do all the dirty work, but the smaller claw has its own superpowers . If attacked, the pistol shrimp will release its huge snapper to protect itself.

Fortunately, not only will they grow a new one, but their original small claw will begin to grow into a large snapper claw. This gives them a head start on getting back on the path to shooting bubbles.

Despite their reputation for danger, they can be very cooperative .
Many species of pistachio shrimp live in groups, probably for protection . And some species collaborate with other types of animals. Pistol shrimp are known to give gobies , a type of small fish , a place to live in exchange for help watching for danger.

Pistol shrimp most commonly live in coral reefs and seagrass beds. Dip your head underwater in temperate and tropical regions, and you're sure to hear one of the more than 600 species that exist around the world.

Netflix gave them a star role in a superhero

In the Netflix- created film " Project Power ," the character played by Jamie Foxx is given a few minutes of gun shrimp power to turn raindrops into high-speed jets that decimate everything in their path. Who knew such a small creature could have such an impact on the big screen?

There's no doubt that these gun-wielding invertebrates stand out under the sea. Whether they're shooting at the enemy or having fun with their allies, they're one of the loudest creatures - and the most fascinating - of nature. Next time you're in tropical waters, dive in and enjoy the sounds of this curious crackling chorus.

Has pop culture become mainstream? This is the recognition this deadly bubble -throwing crustacean deserves!

Back to blog

Set sail for our new sea products 🌊

1 of 8