A unique way of sound production in the snapping shrimp (Alpheus heterochaelis)

Barbara Schmitz, Michel Versluis, Anna von der Heydt, Detlef Lohse

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Sound production is known in more than 50, mostly stridulating, crustacean genera. These acoustic signals occur in agonistic interactions as well as for mate attraction. The mechanism of sound production in snapping shrimp, which also serves to stun or even kill small prey, is especially interesting. The current assumption was that the sound is produced by cocking and then rapidly closing the enlarged modified snapper claw. Snapping shrimp sounds contribute most to coastal biological noise, may be heard up to 1 mile away, and resemble the crackling of dry twigs in fire or the sizzle of frying fat. Recent hydrophone measurements close to tethered shrimp ~Alpheus heterochaelis! revealed pulse-like signals of 500-ns duration, comprising frequencies beyond 200 kHz, and showing enormous sound pressure levels of up to 220-dB re 1 mPa ~peak to peak! at 1-m distance. Such high intensities are very unlikely to be produced by the mechanical contact of two claw surfaces. Ultra-high-speed video recordings and simultaneous hydrophone measurements reveal that claw closure results in a water jet, the high velocity of which ~25 m/s! leads to the formation of a cavitation bubble, which emits the extremely loud sound upon its collapse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2542-2542
Number of pages1
JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2000
EventJoint 140th Meeting ASA/NOISE-CON 2000 - Newport Beach Marriott Hotel, Newport Beach, United States
Duration: 3 Dec 20008 Dec 2000


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