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The fastest claw in the sea belongs to young snapping shrimp

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Full-grown snapping shrimp were already known to have some of the fastest claws under the waves. But it turns out they’re nothing compared with their kids. 

Juvenile snapping shrimp produce the highest known underwater accelerations of any reusable body part, researchers report February 28 in the Journal of Experimental Biology. While the claws’ top speed isn’t terribly impressive, they go from zero to full throttle in record time.

To deter predators or competitors, snapping shrimp create shock waves with their powerful claws. The shrimp store energy in the flexing exoskeleton of their claw as it opens, latching it in place much like a bow-and-arrow mechanism, says Jacob Harrison, a biologist at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

Firing the claw and releasing this elastic energy produces a speeding jet of water. Bubbles…

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