I was watching this program that claimed that the howler monkey was the loudest land animal, with a howl that can be heard from a whopping 4.8 kms away. This got me thinking: if that’s the loudest LAND animal, how loud is the loudest animal in the world?
Meet what could possibly be the most badass crustacean I’ve ever read about, Alpheus Bellulus – The Tiger Pistol Shrimp.
The Tiger Pistol Shrimp grows to approximately 3 – 4 cm long (not inclusive of antennae), so it’s pretty petite. It also lives in symbiosis with certain goby species. The relationship works like this: the shrimp digs and maintains the burrows of both the animals and the goby keeps watch because it has better eyesight.
Not that the Tiger Pistol Shrimp needs any assistance when push comes to shove.
The Tiger Pistol Shrimp is equipped with two chelipeds (fancy word for pincers), with its right cheliped being bigger and modified into some kind of shotgun. General consensus is that the shrimp closes its claw so fast that it shoots a jet of water at 97km/hr which is fast enough to cause cavitation. Cavitation is the formation of small liquid-free zones within liquids. Also known as bubbles.
So the Tiger Pistol Shrimp shoots a low pressure bubble really fast from its claw, and when the bubble collapses, it makes a deafening sound at 218 decibels – a jet engine being 158 decibels. The resultant violent shockwave is powerful enough to kill fish and other shrimp up to 2 metres away.
Reports on the internal temperature of the bubble vary, but they all compare the heat to the heat of the sun. So my guess is it’s pretty hot in there. Also, some talk about ‘sonoluminescence‘ which is light that is created by imploding bubbles that are excited by sound. When the bubble implodes, it creates that incredible sound, resulting in a flash of light and the expulsion of heat that is comparable to that of the sun.
Below is a video of one in action:
So essentially, this 3 – 4cm shrimp can shoot stun grenades underwater that are so loud that if we heard it, we would instantly go deaf.
Hope you found this as interesting as I did!
- Symbiotic Relationships (aplangblogger.wordpress.com)
- Unanswered Question- How Does Sonoluminescence Work? (perspectivenewsletter.wordpress.com)
- Sonoluminescence (Mind Bomb #014) – Creating Light From Sound (okjdiscoveries.wordpress.com)