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Underwater sensors detect odors: spiny lobster


Spiny Lobster / Magnus Kjær.. / LicenseCC-by-sa - Attribution Share Alike

Antennules of the spiny lobster trap water to identify odors using chemosensory hairs.

"lobster olfactory antennules hydrodynamically alter the spatiotemporal patterns of concentration in turbulent odor plumes. As antennules flick, water penetrates their chemosensory hair array during the fast downstroke, carrying fine-scale patterns of concentration into the receptor area. This spatial pattern, blurred by flow along the antennule during the downstroke, is retained during the slower return stroke and is not shed until the next flick." (Koehl et al. 2001:1948)
About the inspiring organism
Caribbean spiny lobster
Panulirus argus (Latreille, 1804)
Common name: Caribbean spiny lobster

Learn more at
Some organism data provided by: ITIS: The Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Use for developing underwater chemical sensors for oil companies, pollution detection, detecting underwater weapons.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Manufacturing, health

Koehl Lab: Ecological and Evolutionary Biomechanics
Mimi A.R. Koehl
Department of Zoology, University of California--Berkeley
Koehl, MAR; Koseff, Jeffrey R; Crimaldi, John P; McCay, Michael, G; Cooper, Tim; Wiley, Megan B; Moore, Paul A. 2001. Lobster sniffing: Antennute design and hydrodynamic filtering of information in an odor plume. Science. 294(5548): 1948-1951.
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Chang, C.; Chiang, C. F.; Liu, C. H.; Liu, C. H. 2005. A lobster-sniffing-inspired method for micro-objects manipulation using electrostatic micro-actuators. Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. 15(4): 812-821.
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