Patek, S. N. 2019. The power of mantis shrimp strikes: Interdisciplinary impacts of an extreme cascade of energy release. Integrative and Comparative Biology (icz127): 1-13. doi: 10.1093/icb/icz127
Integrative and Comparative Biology
In the course of a single raptorial strike by a mantis shrimp (Stomatopoda), the stages of energy release span six to seven orders of magnitude of duration. To achieve their mechanical feats of striking at the outer limits of speeds, accelerations, and impacts among organisms, they use a mechanism that exemplifies a cascade of energy release—beginning with a slow and forceful, spring-loading muscle contraction that lasts for hundreds of milliseconds and ending with implosions of cavitation bubbles that occur in nanoseconds. Mantis shrimp use an elastic mechanism built of exoskeleton and controlled with a latching mechanism. Inspired by both their mechanical capabilities and evolutionary diversity, research on mantis shrimp strikes has provided interdisciplinary and fundamental insights to the fields of elastic mechanisms, fluid dynamics, evolutionary dynamics, contest dynamics, the physics of fast, small systems, and the rapidly-expanding field of bioinspired materials science. Even with these myriad connections, numerous discoveries await, especially in the arena of energy flow through materials actuating and controlling fast, impact fracture resistant systems.