Attack of the Mighty Midget

A swift kick from a diminutive marine crustacean called the mantis shrimp may be the most powerful blow delivered by any predator on the planet

08-01-2004 // Laura Tangley

A SWIFT KICK from a diminutive marine crustacean called the mantis shrimp, or stomatopod, may be the most powerful blow delivered by any predator on the planet. Using a high-speed video camera, biologists at the University of California–Berkeley clocked the shrimp flailing their clublike front legs at prey (usually snails) at speeds of up to 75 feet per second, far faster than most known animal movements of any kind.

According to the researchers, who published their study in Nature, a saddle-shaped spring powers the animals’ legs, which move so fast they cause water to vaporize.

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