Most clawed crustaceans use their pincers like a pair of deadly scissors, either for defence or tearing apart their prey. But the Pistol Shrimp has developed a far more devastating use for it.
Its claw is able to open and snap shut with enough force to create a cavitation shockwave that kills fish and even heats the water to an impossible 3871C. If any creature was meant to be studied in slow motion, this is it.
The Pistol Shrimp’s pincer closes so fast, in fact, that the team at BBC Earth Productions had to crank their high-speed camera to 10,000 frames per second to just barely capture it snapping shut. And while the shockwave it creates is tiny, these shrimp have actually been known to interrupt underwater ship-to-ship sonar communications where they congregate. So maybe there’s the potential here for the navy to breed and deploy a small army of sonar scramblers.