When in colonies, the snapping shrimp can interfere with sonar and underwater communication. The shrimp are a major source of noise in the ocean.
The snapping shrimp grows to only 1–2 inches (3–5 cm) long. It is distinctive for its remarkably disproportionate large claw, larger than half the shrimp’s body.
The claw can be on either arm of the body, and unlike most shrimp claws does not have typical pincers at the end. Rather, it has a pistol-like feature made of two parts. A joint allows the “hammer” part to move backward into a right-angled position.
When released, it snaps into the other part of the claw, emitting an enormously powerful wave of bubbles capable of stunning larger fish and breaking small glass jars.
Top image by Arthur Anker on Flickr.