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Even the name reveals it: Pop or gun crabs let it crack. As the pop-scissors of this newly discovered species shines in pink, it inspired the explorers to an unusual naming. Sammy de Grave from Oxford University, a longtime Pink Floyd fan, saw a chance to finally immortalize his favorite band as a godfather. And so got the good one-inch water-Wummer from the Pacific coast of Panama's name Synalpheus pinkfloydi.

Like all good rock bands, gun cancers are extremely loud. With their large gripper arm they can produce a bang at a volume of up to 210 decibels. A nozzle jet with 140 decibels would be more tolerable from 30 meters away - the pain threshold of the human ear is 130 decibels. It takes a sophisticated technique to make it rock like this: The reef dwellers snap their big pair of scissors together at extremely high speed. The result is a jet that forms a bubble in the water, a so-called cavitation bubble that implodes and produces a tremendous bang. The sound pressure can stun or even kill animals like worms and small fish. But not only prey animals are knocked down. With his power, the rocking cancer also delivers warning shots, communicates with conspecifics and fights against rivals.

Photo: Sammy de Grave


  • Arthur Anker et al., Synalpheus pinkfloydi sp. nov., a new pistol shrimp from the tropical eastern Pacific (Decapoda: Alpheidae), Zootaxa 4254 (1), 2017, pp. 111-119
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