The pistol shrimp looks like the professional arm wrestler of the underwater world. It has one regular-sized claw, and a massively oversized one that looks like the sole focus of the shrimp's workouts. But as laughably lopsided as it is in appearance, the pistol shrimp's giant arm-cannon-looking claw serves a predictably devastating evolutionary function. They can knock out prey without even touching it.
When the pistol shrimp's giant claw snaps shut, it creates a bubble that immediately collapses. The sound of that bubble bursting has been measured at about 210 decibels, which is literally louder than a gunshot. The noise is so deafening that it knocks prey unconscious, a "Shrimp WINS!" fighting game graphic appears, and the shrimp is free to go to work on its incapacitated meal.
Colonies of pistol shrimp snapping at each other have even been known to disrupt sonar equipment. And if that "gunshot taser bubble" doesn't already sound like some weird superhero power, if the pistol shrimp loses its snapping claw, it'll grow back another on the smaller pincer, giving its formerly wounded appendage time to recuperate and turn into the smaller pincer itself. How these creatures haven't been the main focus of a Japanese monster movie, we'll never know.
Not only are pistol shrimp loud, they're also delicious. Here's some recipes!
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