Being called a shrimp doesn't exactly make you known for having sizable strength or an intimidating presence. But there's one little weird wonder of the sea — the pistol shrimp — that crushes the stereotype in a dramatic way. It's so powerful it not only shoots and annihilates its prey; it has thrown the U.S. Navy off track, landed a superhero role on Netflix and even helped researchers make strides in fighting climate change. Pistol shrimp, also known as snapping shrimp, earn their sea cred by creating something that's seemingly childlike and innocuous: bubbles. But these definitely aren't your ordinary bubbles — they make a sound louder than a gun and generate massive amounts of heat.
Pistol shrimp "shoot" these deadly bubbles to kill prey, jackhammer into rock to create burrows or protect said burrows from other, jealous shrimp. They have no need for a fancy holster or to stock up on ammo — their gun is built right into their one, oversized snapper claw that can grow to be half the size of their tiny body.
The monstrous sound isn't actually caused by the parts of the claw impacting each other. As the shrimp open their large snapper claw, water fills the small crook. Upon closing the claw with impressive force, a plunger-like piece shoots the water out at speeds as fast as a car traveling down the highway. This creates a powerful bubble that not only kills what's in its path but creates a ridiculously loud sound when it pops. Here are six fun facts about the pistol shrimp: