Some single-celled organisms process sunlight for energy. Some slowly absorb prey. But others use biological harpoon guns to spear microbes for lunch.
This is a single-celled plankton. It chases down other plankton and stabs them with a special organ called a nematocyst.
And yes, it works just like a harpoon. Nematocysts use muscle contraction to launch a barbed projectile connected to a thread. Sometimes it's laced with venom, for good measure.
And the tiny creatures have developed some highly specialized artillery; some had the "first evidence of multibarrel ballistics in nature."
Researchers say the complex weapons might exist to counter defensive traits in the plankton's prey — like a micro-scale arms race.