Medium compensation in a spring-actuated system

Kathryn D. Feller, Gregory P. Sutton, Paloma T. Gonzalez-Bellido

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Mantis shrimp strikes are one of the fastest animal movements, despite their occurrence in a water medium with viscous drag. Since the strike is produced by a latch-mediated spring-actuated system and not directly driven by muscle action, we predicted that strikes performed in air would be faster than underwater as a result of reduction in the medium's drag. Using high-speed video analysis of stereotyped strikes elicited from Squilla mantis, we found the exact opposite: strikes are much slower and less powerful in air than in water. S. mantis strikes in air have a similar mass and performance to latch-mediated spring-actuated jumps in locusts, suggesting a potential threshold for the energetics of a 1-2 g limb rotating in air. Drag forces induced by the media may be a key feature in the evolution of mantis shrimp strikes and provide a potential target for probing the braking system of these extremely fast movements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberjeb208678
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work and K.D.F. were supported by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Independent Postdoctoral Research Fellowship distributed by the European Commission, MSCA-IF Project: EYEPOD 702238. K.D.F. was also supported by funding from the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Company of Biologists Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Biomechanics
  • Energy
  • Kinematics
  • Power amplification
  • Stomatopod

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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