Krilling stuff

Published: Thursday 15 August 1996

Antarctic krills, small shrimplike creatures, have adopted special mechanisms to avoid turbulence. According to Konard Welse, a zoologist at the University of Hamburg, Germany, their antennae pick up pressure waves from their neighbours for maintaining contact among themselves. After placing a small pressure sensor near the swimmerets of a krill, Welse detected four distinct signals: a low frequency wave which told how fast the krill was paddling ahead and three higher frequency signals from the bristles. The strength of the high frequency waves decreased with the distance, thus enabling the krill to keep a considerable gap from its neighbours ( Discover , Vol 17, No 6).

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