Patek, S.N. and R. L. Caldwell. 2006. The stomatopod rumble: sound production in Hemisquilla californiensis. Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 39(2): 99-111.
Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology 39(2): 99-111.
Stomatopods (mantis shrimp), numbering over 450 species, are renowned for their exceptional visual
and chemosensory abilities and yet virtually nothing is known about their use of acoustic signals. We
present acoustic recordings and analyses of the sounds of a stomatopod, Hemisquilla californiensis.
This species generates tonal, low frequency sounds, which we term ‘rumble’, that are spectrally similar
to those produced by African and Asian elephants. The fundamental frequency of the stomatopod
rumble ranges from 20 to 60 Hz, with a strong second harmonic. Hemisquilla californiensis appears to
generate these sounds through contractions of the posterior mandibular remotor muscle which is
coupled to a stiff, lateral extension of the carapace. The sides of the carapace are covered by large,
polarized, red spots which vibrate during sound production. Thus, the animals may generate a
multi-modal signal by coupling vibrational and visual signals. Hemisquilla californiensis generates the
rumble while interacting with potential predators and burrow intruders, suggesting a defensive or
territorial function for the sound.