from the specimen drawer

from the specimen drawer

Friday, November 13, 2009

Invertebrate Limerick

Here is Limerick #1 for the illustrious snapping shrimp.

He looks like a peanut-sized lobster
A miniature decapod mobster
His pistol claw poised
To pop off a loud noise
and scare away mean arthropodsters

The snapping or pistol shrimp have one very big claw that makes a REALLY loud pop when it is closed. It can scare away predators and stun prey. It is not, however, the snapping together of the pincers that makes the noise but the popping of a cavitation bubble caused by the speed at which the claw snaps shut. Here is a link where you can download a very cool video of this happening: (scroll down to contents and "video material").

Here is limerick #2, specifically about Alpheus heterochaelis, the big-clawed snapping shrimp.

Alpheus and black-clawed Panopeus
Live together in sweet symbiosis
The crab digs the hole
The shrimp stands patrol
Of their “marriage” they’re making the mostest

Here's a really terrible drawing I did of A. heterochaelis and Panopeus herbstii, the black-clawed mud crab. I know I said I might draw the snapping shrimp playing poker but they had already finished the game. Alpheus won as you can see from the ace of spades stuck in his hat band- he had a boat- bullets over snowmen. He's cool, huh?! I wish I had a red fedora like that.

It's not uncommon for snapping shrimp to have symbiotic relationships with other animals- vertebrates (gobies, eg.) and invertebrates alike (even anemones!). In areas of the coast where big-clawed snapping shrimp inhabit oyster reefs, they often share burrows with black-clawed mud crabs (see the crab in the hole?). Apparently, Alpheus is not able to dig nice burrows around the hard oyster beds like Panopeus can. The crab, in return, gets a personal warning alarm in the form of loud popping.

So there you go Kevin. I hope the two limericks and my crappy drawing made up for no invertebrate sonnet.


  1. Well, OK. I'll let it slide THIS TIME, but i'm expecting you to practice your sonnets!

    Love the limericks! Cheers, Kevin

  2. Thanks, Kevin! Okay- I promise I will practice my stupid sonnets.