UC Berkeley biologist Sheila Patek gives a wide-ranging talk on the effort to measure the hyperfast movements of peacock mantis shrimp heels using high-speed video cameras recording at 20,000 frames per second. She and her team slowed down the movements of these amazing animals and showed they had the fastest known feeding strike in the animal kingdom. (In 2006, Patek’s team announced an even faster animal part: the mandible of the trap-jaw ant.)

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3 thoughts on “Sheila Patek: Measuring the fastest animal on earth

  1. This was a fascinating film. We have ‘amimintiks’ here in the Philippines – they’re the spearing species shown in the film. They are extremely fast, and their grabbing arms are lined with needle-sharp spines – very sharp – you can’t even handle one without getting pricked.When you’re snorkelling, you can hear them underwater – sharp reports from time to time – not all their efforts result in anything very much.I featured them at:http://www.coconutstudio.com/Shoreline%20Foraging.htmand I can confirm that they are very tasty indeed – taste like lobsters but at 1/10th the price. Here, they catch the spearers with sprung nooses set just above their sand holes. A bit of springy bamboo, a bit of string, and some fishy bait is all that is needed.At some time in each month, some of them come loaded with ‘coral’ – eggs, that are the most tasty part. But, unlike lobsters, crabs, etc, that grow their eggs under their bellies, amimintiks grow theirs under the shell of their backs, so they have to moult to give birth.There’s a small local estuary here that no-one will dare cross, because although it is shallow enough, it is full of amimintiks, and they’ve been known to kill carabaos – the local domesticated water buffalo.

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