How Snapping Shrimp Snap: Through Cavitating Bubbles

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Science  22 Sep 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5487, pp. 2114-2117
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5487.2114

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The snapping shrimp (Alpheus heterochaelis) produces a loud snapping sound by an extremely rapid closure of its snapper claw. One of the effects of the snapping is to stun or kill prey animals. During the rapid snapper claw closure, a high-velocity water jet is emitted from the claw with a speed exceeding cavitation conditions. Hydrophone measurements in conjunction with time-controlled high-speed imaging of the claw closure demonstrate that the sound is emitted at the cavitation bubble collapse and not on claw closure. A model for the bubble dynamics based on a Rayleigh-Plesset–type equation quantitatively accounts for the time dependence of the bubble radius and for the emitted sound.

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