The National Wildlife Federation

Donate Donate

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

  • Laura Tangley
  • Aug 01, 2004
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.

Get Involved

   Please leave this field empty

Where We Work

More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. We're on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 52 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.

Learn More
Regional Centers and Affiliates