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Cavitation bubbles: Snapping Shrimp Attacks at 11,000 fps

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This tiny, ultra-fast, normally difficult-to-see bubble is “one of the most devastating animal attacks on Earth.” Created by snapping shrimp and mantis shrimp strikes, “it’s produced when the claw snaps shut,” explains Dr. Adrian Smith, “sending out a rapid jet of water.”

“That water is moving so fast, the pressure within the jet drops below the water pressure of water, allowing tiny bubbles to expand into what’s known as a cavitation bubble. When that bubble collapses on itself, a lot of things happen: It produces an audible snap, it instantaneously produces temperatures similar to the surface of the sun, and it even makes light, a phenomenon that researchers gave the fun name ‘shrimp-o-luminescence.'”

cavitation bubble
These cavitation bubble slow-motion sequences were narrated and filmed at 10,863 fps by Smith of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina State University, and the Ant Lab YouTube channel. The featured animals are snapping shrimp Alpheus heterochaelis and mantis shrimp Gonodactylaceus falcatus.

In a related video, Baby Mantis Shrimp Strikes Captured in Slow Motion, Smith talks with Dr. Jacob Harrison in the Patek Lab at Duke University. There they discuss the larval mantis shrimp’s super speedy strikes, as well as how Harrison conducts his research with these tiny animals.

Dr. Jacob Harrison
He explains: “So as long as we’re careful this is completely harmless to the animal and they can continue to live with a little dab of superglue on the back of their carapace until they molt the next time.” Watch below:

baby mantis shrimp

Find more from Ant Lab on TKSST, including: Are globular springtails the fastest spinning animals on Earth?

Then watch this related video from Deep Look: The Snail-Smashing, Fish-Spearing, Eye-Popping Mantis Shrimp.

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