Brief Communications

Nature 413, 477-478 (4 October 2001) | doi:10.1038/35097152

Snapping shrimp make flashing bubbles

Detlef Lohse1, Barbara Schmitz2 & Michel Versluis1

Snapping shrimp produce a loud crackling noise1, 2 that is intense enough to disturb underwater communication. This sound originates from the violent collapse of a large cavitation bubble generated under the tensile forces of a high-velocity water jet formed when the shrimp's snapper-claw snaps shut3 (Fig. 1). Here we show that a short, intense flash of light is emitted as the bubble collapses, indicating that extreme pressures and temperatures of at least 5,000 K (ref. 4) must exist inside the bubble at the point of collapse. We have dubbed this phenomenon 'shrimpoluminescence' — the first observation, to our knowledge, of this mode of light production in any animal — because of its apparent similarity to sonoluminescence5, 6, the light emission from a bubble periodically driven by ultrasound.

  1. Faculty of Applied Physics and J. M. Burgers Research Centre for Fluid Dynamics, University of Twente, PO Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
  2. Lehrstuhl für Zoologie, Technische Universität München, Lichtenbergstrasse 4, 85747 Garching, Germany

Correspondence to: Detlef Lohse1 e-mail: Email: