Pistol shrimps are fascinating crustaceans that have a very special way of hunting. By an extremely rapid closing of their oversized claw, the shrimp produce a loud snapping sound that stuns their prey. The noise made by the pistol shrimp is not caused by the claws hitting each other – as scientists used to believe – but by a jet of water created by the impact that shoots out at 100 km/h.
The jet of water creates a low pressure bubble for a tiny fraction of a second, which collapses with a bang louder than that of a jet engine. The resulting concussive shockwaves are not only able to stun small crabs and fish, but may even kill them.
Scientists revealed that as the bubble collapses the bubble reaches temperatures of over 5,000 degress Kelvin, similar to the surface temperature of the sun, and even emits a short flash of light.
Although the snapping sound, which can be heard from great distances, is mainly used for hunting, pistol shrimps also use it for communication.