Secret of Hard Hitting Crustacean Claws Found

by Stephanie Pappas

If sea creatures were Marvel comic book characters, the peacock mantis shrimp would be Thor. These colorful crustaceans have a hammerlike claw that can smash prey with the acceleration of a 0.22-caliber bullet — not unlike the superhero’s mythological weapon.

Now, a new study reveals the secrets behind the strength of the mantis shrimp's claw at the molecular level. It turns out this appendage is ideally adapted to deliver punishing blow after punishing blow without breaking. These adaptations are already inspiring researchers to engineer biology-mimicking materials that could inspire everything from better boat propellers to safer body armor.

"What makes [mantis shrimp claws] so incredible is that they’re stiff and they’re also tough, which is really kind of an inverse relationship in materials science," said study researcher David Kisailus, a materials scientist at the University of California, Riverside…

(read more: Live Science)      

(photos: Michael Bok; T - Gonodactylus chiragra, B - G. platysoma)

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    Radiolab may have given me a new favorite animal.
  15. auf-heben reblogged this from dabobchik and added:
    Nature has a way of being badass,Could you imagine if this thing was like the size of a cat,
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    This is fucking awesome. Love the Marvel references.
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    For a moment I was about to be annoyed because those two pictures are definitely not O. scyllarus, and then I realized...