What is pistol shrimp?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question “What is pistol shrimp?” and information on pistol shrimp in aquariums.

What is pistol shrimp?

The pistol shrimp often referred to as snapping shrimp, is a type of crustacean that is a member of the Alpheidae family. It can be seen that the biggest of its two front claws is significantly larger than the other. 

Reefs and seagrass beds are the major habitats for many different kinds of marine life in both temperate and tropical regions. They are only a few inches long, yet their enormous claws can stretch to be around half the length of their bodies. They are not particularly large.

This enormous claw, which belongs to the pistol shrimp, is the source of its incredible power. When a pistol shrimp wants to grab prey, it opens a small chamber in the crook of its giant claw by extending the top section of its large claw. This allows the shrimp to trap its meal. When the top claw is clamped down, a small plunger is activated, which forces the water to be expelled from the chamber. 

This takes place at such a quick pace that it causes bubbles to form. Not just any bubbles; they can travel at a speed of 60 miles per hour, which is fast enough to render the target unable to move or even fatally injured! The characteristic “snap” sound that these shrimp make when they explode bubbles is the origin of their name.

What kind of an appearance does a pistol shrimp have?

The pistol shrimp, also known as the snapping shrimp, belongs to the family of shrimp species that may be found mostly in tropical waters. The pistol shrimp can be identified by its disproportionately large claws. There are over 500 different species of pistol shrimp. Each of these species has a unique appearance and environment, but they all have the same gigantic boxing glove claw.

Due to the design of this claw, it can hunt pistol shrimp as well as engage in combat with them, however, it does so in a quite unusual manner. Before killing and devouring their prey, pistol shrimp first render their victim helpless by closing their claws around it.

Do any other shrimp or marine animals have similar hunting methods?

Two primary categories can be applied to mantis shrimp weaponry. One of these individuals is called a spearer. Typically, they have a sharp spear in the front followed by several smaller needles on the “forearm” of the insect. The rainbow smasher is the one that draws the most attention among them all. The “elbows” of smashers are much larger.

They then twist their appendage forward with amazing speed and force right before they smash it into something, which is typically the shell of a snail. We divers will occasionally refer to smashers as “thumb-splitters” when referring to them. You got that right. You do not wish to have any interaction with them at all. They have been known to shatter the glass of aquariums, which could be disastrous for the shrimp within. One time, I had one in an aquarium, and it ended up shattering the front pane, which made me quite anxious.

Are the mantis shrimp and the pistol shrimp found in the same space?

According to the studies, mantids and pistol shrimp, despite their broad sympathy for one another, don’t pay much attention to one another despite living close to one another.

Do you believe that pistol shrimps would be beneficial to keep in an aquarium?

Pistol shrimps are becoming increasingly popular in the market for marine aquariums because of their attractive appearance, low maintenance requirements, and fascinating behavior. For instance, shrimp gobies and their offspring will breed once they are placed in an aquarium together.


In this short article, we provided an answer to the question “What is pistol shrimp?” and information on pistol shrimp in aquariums.




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