As rock-and-roll legend has it, Pink Floyd played so loudly at London’s Crystal Palace in 1971 that its songs killed the fish in a nearby lake.
The story is almost certainly apocryphal. The act of killing fish with loud sounds, though, is anything but. One recently discovered species of shrimp, which boasts a pink claw, does just that. The researchers who discovered the creature — Sammy De Grave of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Arthur Anker of the Universidade Federal de Goiás in Brazil and Kristin Hultgren of Seattle University — fittingly named it after Roger Waters and the boys.
Behold the Synalpheus pinkfloydi, a new species of pistol shrimp unveiled Wednesday in the Zootaxa journal.
From its coloration to its newly minted name, the crustacean is flush with remarkable features. Most striking, though, is the crustacean’s powerful weaponized sound system.
Unlike The Who or Dinosaur Jr., this shrimp doesn’t requires a stack of Marshall amps to blow a few eardrums. Instead, it only needs its single enlarged claw, which glows an almost neon reddish-pink — and appears particularly ominous considering the rest of the creature is an opaque brownish.
By rapidly snapping this large claw, the Pink Floyd shrimp quickly alters the fluid pressure around it, creating cavitation bubbles in the water. When these bubbles implode, they produce “one of the loudest sounds in the ocean — strong enough to stun or even kill a small fish,” according to an Oxford University press release about the shrimp.
That implosion can create noise “up to 210 decibels,” BBC reported. A thunderclap, for comparison, is roughly 110 decibels while a jet engine generates around 140 decibels, according to the National Institutes of Health. A rock concert, meanwhile, clocks in at around 120.
The Pink Floyd shrimp isn’t the first to create energy with a speedy appendage. Indeed, it joins the Alpheidae family, more colloquially known as the family of snapping or pistol shrimp.
It includes the new shrimp’s sister species Synalpheus antillensis — which lives in the western Atlantic. Though they look like twins, enough genetic divergence exists between Synalpheus antillensis and Synalpheus pinkfloydi to earn the latter a new species status, according to the Oxford University statement.
The mantis shrimp, meanwhile, is likely the most famous shrimp to create underwater energy. Unlike the snapping shrimp, though, it likely creates cavitation bubbles as a welcome aftereffect of its original mission: to smash through the stubborn shells of its prey (and aquarium walls and, occasionally, human thumbs). As The Washington Post’s Ben Guarino reported:
A mantis punch arrives with the acceleration of a .22-caliber bullet, 50 times faster than a human eye can blink. Underwater, the low pressure bubble left in the wake of the punch collapses upon itself in a burst of light and heat, reaching an estimated 8,500 degrees Fahrenheit.
As for the new shrimp’s name, De Grave has long been a Pink Floyd fan.
“I have been listening to Floyd since ‘The Wall’ was released in 1979, when I was 14 years old,” De Grave said in a statement. “I’ve seen them play live several times since, including the Hyde Park reunion gig for Live 8 in 2005. The description of this new species of pistol shrimp was the perfect opportunity to finally give a nod to my favourite band.”
De Grave, after all, is no stranger to marrying rock-and-roll with sea creatures. Previously, as BBC noted, he named another shrimp after Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, the Elephantis jaggerai.