Christian Long

Sheila Patek: Clocks the Fastest Animals

In TED Talks on May 28, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Extra credit reflection by KEITH C.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Sheila Patek:  Clocks the Fastest Animals

From the beginning of the video I was immediately interested when she started talking about the means of these shrimp getting food. Then it got even better when she showed the clip of the manta shrimp eating, shot with a high speed camera. I found these shrimp to be incredibly interesting. In the first video clip she showed, this shrimp was reaching up and grabbing a piece of food with its ‘arms.’ As the high speed camera showed with 1000 frames per second, you could clearly see its little arms reach up and grab the bait with lighting speed. The second manta shrimp that she showed was even more interesting than the first. This one actually could break open the shells of the snails. Shelia also showed a clip of this shrimp gently feeling the shell of the snail that was in front of it, then it just hit it out of the frame with an appendage that came from somewhere below the shrimp. Shelia explained that this shrimp could either use that appendage to stab with the dagger looking point on the end, or it could smash the will the heel section of the appendage.

After thinking about the special appendage of this shrimp, Shelia wanted to know how fast it could move. The only problem was that she did not a high enough speed camera that was available to her to shoot it. Finally when she got the opportunity to shoot it she discovered some record breaking speeds. After shooting the shrimp smash the shell of the snail, the appendage was calculated to be going at 45 miles per hour. This is extremely fast for something to be going underwater. This shrimp is now the listed as the fastest ways of feeding.

After further investigation with this bizarre appendage, Shelia figured out that for the amount of force to be giving off, there needed to be some kind of spring loaded system that releases this great amount of energy. She discovered this saddle shape on the shrimp that she realized was used to compress, and enable d the shrimp to be able to perform this unbelievable act. After acquiring more technology, she calculated that these shrimp were able to produce over two hundred pounds of force! This is amazing to me.

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