The most powerful movements in biology

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Animal movement inevitably invokes the role of muscle, but it turns out that to achieve these extraordinarily powerful movements, organisms must actually find ways to circumvent muscle's limitations. The author S. N. Patek takes the example of mantis shrimp whose hammer-shaped mouthparts, called raptorial appendages, accelerate like a bullet in a gun (100,000 meters per second squared) and achieve speeds up to 31 meters per second. mantis shrimp raptorial appendages contain a spring and a latch to generate extreme power amplification. Their mechanism for power amplification is just a tweak to the standard antagonistic muscle contractions that characterize most animals' motor systems. However, when they need to do a high-powered blow, they contract the flexor and extensor muscles simultaneously. The system is primed to strike as soon as the flexor muscles relax, release the latches, and permit the stored elastic energy to release over an extremely short time period to push the hammer forward with extreme power output.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Patek, SN

Published Date

  • September 1, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 103 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 330 - 337

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0003-0996

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1511/2015.116.330

Citation Source

  • Scopus