Monday, April 27, 2009

Pistol Shrimp

Pistol Shrimps are tiny creatures with a deadly weapon. They are capable of shooting supersonic blasts from their fingertips with enough force to instantly stun or kill their prey.

You may notice that one claw of a pistol shrimp is much larger than the other, and very strangely shaped. This claw serves as both its lethal weapon, and its voice. This claw can be forcefully snapped shut, shooting a jet of water out at such a high speed that it actually vaporizes the water. This causes a small air bubble to form. The bubble collapses with enough force to send concussive shockwaves capable of stunning and incapacitating prey.

A pistol shrimp will lie in wait under a rock or in a burrow until food comes along. When it is in range, the shrimp will forcefully snap its oversize claw shut, shooting out sonic waves that incapacitate its prey. The helpless victim is dragged unconscious into the burrow and eaten by the pistol shrimp.

Another unusual thing about pistol shrimps is that they often allow a fish to live with them. Certain kinds of goby fish often share burrows with pistol shrimp. The fish serves as a guard dog, protecting the shrimp from bigger predators. In return, the pistol shrimp works hard to keep the burrow clean and excavate their home.

The loud blast created by a pistol shrimp's claw can be heard from great distances. Because of this, they also use their claw for communicating with other pistol shrimps. When you listen underwater you may hear a lot of popping sounds. Some of them may be made by pistol shrimps firing off their sound waves to communicate with each other.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Frogfish are some of the most bizarre looking fish in the ocean. They are a type of angler fish with amazing adaptations for camouflage. Their bodies are oddly shaped and they can change colors to blend in with their environment. Most frogfish mimic corals, sponges, seaweed, or rocks. This camouflage keeps predators from identifying them as food, and it keeps their food from identifying them as predators.

Frogfish spend most of their lives scooting along the bottom of the ocean. They lie motionless, resting on specially modified fins that act almost like legs.

Like most angler fish, frogfish have a very clever method of hunting prey. Instead of going out to find their food, they bring their food to them. Frogfish have a small growth on their heads that looks like a small worm or fish. They dangle this lure in front of their mouth, tricking other fish into thinking it is food.

The fish come close, thinking they will eat an easy meal. Instead they become the meal for the frogfish.

Frogfish are found in oceans throughout the world, and they take on a staggering variety of shapes and colors.