Shrimp Bucking the Crowd
by Eric Kreye
A small marine animal teaches a big lesson--it's the lowly shrimp!
Every time it molts--and it does this several times a year--this fascinating small creature does an amazing stunt. It places a tiny piece of sand in its own head.
This grain of sand is called a "statoscyst stone." Without it the shrimp has a difficult time surviving its turbulent habitat because just a small tug of gravity helps the shrimp to know if it is right side up or up side down. Because of the grain of sand the shrimp maintains its equilibrium when tossed by the surging seas during its molting stage.
A marine biologist learned the secret of the shrimp's behavior by placing several shrimp in an aquarium.
Instead of the usual sand at the bottom, he replaced it with steel filings. When the time came for the shrimp to molt, it reached for a piece of steel instead of the usual grain of sand.
The biologist then used a magnet, and immediately the shrimp flipped upside down and continued swimming without missing a beat. Apparently the pull on the steel in its head was stronger than the tug of gravity.
The scientist then took a shrimp from the ocean, with the usual piece of sand in its head, and put the shrimp into the aquarium. It was the only one who swam the usual way, while the other shrimp were swimming upside-down!
The latter might have begun to whisper about the newcomer, "Who does he think he is? Is he trying to impress someone by being so different?"
That's exactly what we humans do at times. If anyone is different from the rest of us, we are tempted to bring about isolation, ridicule, and sometimes even bring about persecution. One might call this peer pressure.
In our illustration the lone shrimp acted differently from the others that were all about him. In our society today it is easy to find ourselves going the opposite direction. When that happens, what do you think our little grain of sand should be?
What will keep us upright?
From Alone in the Crowd, a Pocket Book by Joe Crews
In His Love