The Pistol Shrimp(Alpheus Saxidomus)

The scientific group name for the Pistol Shrimp is Alpheidae Shrimp. It is also known as the snapping shrimp because of what it does with it's claw. It is a member of the caridean family, which basically means it's form the shrimp family. Most pistol shrimp dig holes and are usually residents of coral reefs, underwater grass flats, and oyster reefs. While most genera(types of animal) and species are found near tropical and warm coastal and marine waters.

external image pistol.jpg


Symbiotic Relations

Some pistol shrimp are known to form symbiotic relationships with goby fish in digging holes, or burrows. The pistol shrimp builds and tends to the burrow, and the goby fish looks out for danger and provides protection. When both the animals are out of the burrow, the pistol shrimp maintians it's contact with the goby fish with it's antenna. The goby fish, having the better eye sight, warns the shrimp of danger with a tail movement, and both retreat into the safety of the burrow. So far this association has been observed in species that live in coral reef environments. The Pistol Shrimp has also been noted to be able to switch snapping claws. When one snapping claw is cut off, it will grow into a smaller claw, and the other claw will grow into a bigger snapping claw. The cutting of the nerve makes the smaller claw grow larger. Studies gave shown that the severing fo the nerve will have a result of the shrimp to have 2 snapping claws. This has only been seen once in nature however

Rivalry

When pistol shrimp find each other, ti will often turn out to be a duel between the two, but their goal is not to kill or wound, but to see who has the larger claw, or stronger claw. Sometimes mates or partnerships can come out of this. Most often pistol shrimps can tell whether or not their rival is a female or a male.

external image pistol%20shrimp.jpg

Unlike above, this pistol shrimps snapper is on the right.
This is a video of a seeing eye Goby fish helping out a nearly blind Pistol Shrimp


The pistol effect

The pistol shrimp competes with other large animals like the beluga whale, in terms "Loudest Animal in the Sea". The shrimp snaps it's claw shut to create a cavitation(Cavitation is a general term used to describe the behavior of voids or bubbles in a liquid, otherwise known as bubbles popping and empty spaces in liquids). As the claw closes, the bubbles coming out collapse into a force of a blow at 100km/h at 218 decibels(A type of sound measurement) and at nearly 4726.85 °C at a distance of 4 cm. The snap can also produce sonoluminescence(Sonoluminescence is the emission of short bursts of light from self-destructing bubbles in a liquid when excited by sound.) from a collapsing cavitation bubble The light is of a low intensity which is different from a normal sonoluminescence. It is not visible to the naked eye. It is the first animal known to create a sound like this however. In addition, the sound of the snap is intense enough to disturb underwater communications.
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The 4 qualities

1 Or more Cells

The pistol shrimp has more than 1 cell. It has brain cells, chemical cells, blood cells, and many others. Therefore it has one of the first qualities of a living thing.
Moving on:

Grows/Develops

When the pistol shrimp is young, it will have a small snapping claw. Over time, it's claw will grow bigger. Also, for shrimps to be able to grow, they need to shed their exoskeleton every once in a while.
Next:

Responds

When the pistol shrimp notices prey, it will come out of it's hiding spot and ready it's claw. When it is attacked though, it will flee to a safer place. Moving on:

Reproduces

The pistol shrimp reproduces like this:
The male puts it's sperm into a gelatinous sac inbetween the females 4th pair of legs. Then the female lays around 15000 eggs

Kingdom:

Animalia
Phylum:

Arthropoda
Subphylum:

Crustacea
Class:

Malacostraca
Order:

Decapoda
Infraorder:

Caridea
Superfamily:

Alpheoidea
Family:

Alpheidae

Courtesy of Jonathan Wang




Information obtained through wikipedia

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