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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Mantis Shrimp Armor Can Take a Beating
1 October 2010 12:15 am
Mantis shrimp didn't evolve armor just to protect themselves from predators. Some of their biggest enemies are fellow shrimp eager to oust them from their burrows. During these attacks, the aggressor uses its hammerlike claw to whack the hard tail plate of the defender with a force thousands of times its own body weight. Good body armor has two options in these situations: rebound the energy onto the attacker, like a trampoline, or dissipate it, like a punching bag. To figure out which strategy the crustaceans adopt, researchers dropped a small steel ball onto the bodies of 17 dead mantis shrimp. When steel met skeleton, almost 70% of the energy was lost—making the punching bag model the winner, the researchers report today in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Things could be different in the water, where the shrimp attack up to 50% faster. But since the shrimp's claws are also smaller than the steel balls used in the experiment, the researchers figure the energy exchange is probably about the same.
See more ScienceShots.