A small shrimp breaks its claw in less than 0.01 seconds, about 10,000 times faster than the blink of an eye.
The movement is so fast that it creates an audible pop above the water and produces bubbles.
Males of the species Dulichiella cf. appendiculata are small, about the size of a sunflower seed, but 30 percent of their body weight comes from its one huge claw.
The swollen claw closes in just 93 microseconds and moves at about 38 mph. Human eyes take about 150 milliseconds to complete blinking.
Researchers at Duke University in the US say the shrimp combines a unique set of traits that make its speed all the more impressive.
It is not the fastest appendage movement in the animal kingdom, with the jaws of some land animals matching and exceeding its speed.
For example, it is comparable in speed to the trap-jaw ants, but the ants don’t have to deal with the slowing effect of water, which the shrimp does.
The small size of the shrimp’s body distinguishes it from the Mantis shrimp, also known as the ‘smasher shrimp’, which is much larger and quickly expands an appendage to hit rivals and expel them from their shells to make it as its own. own shrimp home to claim.
Jellyfish’s sting cells, the researchers note, are also in the water and ejected faster than the tiny shrimp clicks, but this only happens once, while the tiny crustacean can repeat its clicking motion.
“In biology, we take repeatability for granted,” said Sarah Longo, a visiting professor at Towson University and author of the study.
‘Many ultra-fast movements are not repeatable, such as ballistic seed ejection by plants.
“Some of these seeds go even faster than this amphipod and travel an impressive distance, but they are one-time events.”
Duke Professor Sheila Patek says the shrimp species is crucial to our broader understanding of nature’s physical limits.
The swollen claw closes in just 93 microseconds and moves at about 38 mph. Human eyes take about 150 milliseconds to complete blinking
She believes that if the shrimp closed its claw faster, its body probably wouldn’t be able to handle the force and break.
“There seems to be a limit where you go so fast that you have to inherently give up repeatability,” she says.
“These organisms do things with capabilities that we can’t build now.
“Constructed systems that can be used repeatedly are several orders of magnitude slower and larger than these animals.”
The study, published in the journal Current Biology, using a highly specialized ultra-fast camera.
These crustaceans are common and were found for the study at a dock at the Duke Marine Lab in North Carolina.
The shrimp thrives in cool, foamy water and lives on a diet of dead algae, seaweed and other plants and animals.
Shrimp snaps are so violent that they can create jets of water and produce tiny bubbles through a phenomenon known as cavitation. It only occurs with a rapid change in water pressure.
Professor Patek explains: ‘Cavitation is an extremely powerful effect. It is one of the most energetic events on planet Earth. It’s remarkable that these little creatures can cause it.”
Although the energy-intensive process is widely observed in the animal’s behavior, the researchers don’t yet know how or why they do it.
‘The claws make up a third of a male’s body weight,’ explains Professor Patek.
“We want to know why they are investing so much in this action, whether it’s gender interaction or territorial disputes. That’s something we like to pursue.’
Duke Professor Sheila Patek says the shrimp species is crucial to our broader understanding of nature’s physical limits. She believes that if the shrimp closed its claw faster, its body probably wouldn’t be able to handle the force and break.