AB - Vol. 13 No. 2 - Feature article

The California mantis shrimp communicates acoustically by producing low-frequency ‘rumbles.’

Staaterman ER, Clark CW, Gallagher AJ, deVries MS, Claverie T, Patek SN


Rumbling in the benthos: acoustic ecology of the California mantis shrimp Hemisquilla californiensis


Crustaceans possess structures to produce and detect vibrations, but acoustic communication in this group has rarely been studied. Staaterman and co-workers reveal an in situ acoustic communication system in the California mantis shrimp, an aggressive burrow-dwelling crustacean found off the coast of California, USA. These mantis shrimp produce low-frequency ‘rumbles’ in a coordinated rhythmic pattern. Furthermore, different individuals produce sounds simultaneously or in sequence, with peak acoustic activity occurring during times when mantis shrimp are most active. Sequential sound production, possibly indicating chorusing, has not been demonstrated previously in benthic crustaceans. The prevalence of low frequency boat noise and its close acoustic overlap with the mantis shrimp sounds suggests that acoustic masking may be impacting the acoustic ecology of these animals.


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