Thursday, 21 October 2010

Rare Shrimp Landed in Kilchoan

Titch MacLachlan, one of Kilchoan's creel fishermen, has landed this unusual specimen, a pistol shrimp. Caught in Loch Sunart last year, it wasn't until recently that he was able to identify the animal, and appreciate its amazing capabilities.

This innocent-looking shrimp's left claw - which can be seen to be bigger than the right - has developed a mechanism that resembles the hammer on a 45 revolver. If prey is spotted, it cocks the claw. When fired, it generates a cavitation bubble that reaches 4,700C - the temperature on the surface of the sun. The collapsing bubble then creates a sound wave which stuns its prey.

It occurs to the Diary that someone ought to be studying this incredible animal. Temperatures of 4,700C are nuclear. Could the animal's claw mechanism be used for generating electricity? And what about applications in Defence, for example, in taking out enemy submarines? And... Could this be an alternative to the police taser?

An article about this little shrimp is here, and a brief video here.

Many thanks to Morven and Titch for the photo & link.

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