Sound (and light) of the snapping shrimp

Snapping shrimp produce a loud impulsive click by an extremely rapid closure of their so-called snapper claw. The snap is extremely loud with source levels as high as 200 dB. These shrimp live in colonies in such large numbers that there is continuous snapping, providing a permanent crackling background noise.

It was always thought that the sound is generated when the two claw halves hit each other. In fact, the sound of snapping shrimp originates solely from the collapse of a cavitation bubble that is generated by the fast water jet resulting from the rapid claw closure. The water jet velocity is so high that the corresponding pressure drops below the vapor pressure of water and a cavitation bubble is generated which will initially grow in size, then it collapses violently when the pressure rises again. The bubble collapse is so violent that its interior extreme pressure and temperatures is revealed by a short intense flash of light, termed shrimpoluminescence.

Info: Michel Versluis

Researchers: Detlef Lohse, Michel Versluis.
Collaborators: Barbara Schmitz (Technische Universität München)
Embedding: JMBC
Sponsors: FOM


Snapping shrimp make flashing bubbles
D. Lohse, B. Schmitz, and M. Versluis
Nature 413, 477–478 (2001)BibTeΧ
On the sound of snapping shrimp[arΧiv]
M. Versluis, A.S. von der Heydt, D. Lohse, and B. Schmitz
Phys. Fluids 13, S13 (2001)BibTeΧ
How Snapping Shrimp Snap: Through Cavitating Bubbles
M. Versluis, B. Schmitz, A.S. von der Heydt, and D. Lohse
Science 289, 2114–2117 (2000)BibTeΧ

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