How It Works
Pistol shrimp (Alpheidae)

Which is the loudest animal?

Pistol shrimp (Alpheidae)

Pistol shrimp (Alpheidae)

It’s the tiger pistol shrimp. The pistol shrimp has one supersized claw that can be cocked open. When ‘fired’ the claw snaps shut with such speed that a jet of water is fired out at 97 kilometres (60 miles) per hour. The low-pressure wake creates a cavitation bubble of steam that explodes outwards and then almost instantly collapses again. The collapsing bubble is what generates the sound, which can be up to 218 decibels. The sound is used partly for communication, but its main purpose is as a weapon. The shockwave is loud enough to stun fish and even shatter glass. Because it is very high frequency, the shrimp’s click doesn’t reach very far. The loudest sound used purely for communication, meanwhile, is made by the blue whale, which sends 188-decibel whistles that can be heard 800 kilometres (500 miles) away!

Answered by Luis Villazon.

To learn more about all the incredible animals on our planet, why not visit our AnimalAnswers website – from the makers of How It Works.