Researches find the world’s fastest ant clocked nearly a metre per second. The Saharan silver ant which is one among the 12,000 ant species known travelled 855 millimetres in a second, researches said on Thursday.
The six-legged insect covers 108 times its own body length per second, a feat topped only by two other creatures, the Australian tiger beetle and the California coastal mite.
To run 100 times his body length as quickly, the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, would need to sprint the 200-metre dash in less than a second.
The Saharan silver hits top speed during midday in the Tunisian desert when the temperature reaches 60 degrees Celsius or 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Researchers from the Universities of Ulm and Freiburg in Germany tracked down Cataglyphis bombycina in the Tunisian desert and set up a field lab as a race course.
When the temperature dropped to a chilly 10 C the ant slowed down by more than a third.
As expected, when the temperature dropped to a chilly 10 C the ant slowed down by more than a third.
At top speed, the Saharan silver easily outpaces its nearest ant competitor Cataglyphis fortis.
It does this by swinging its tiny 5-mm long appendages at speeds of up to 1,300 mm per second.
The length of the ant’s strides increased four-fold as the animal shifted into high gear, they found.
The scientists also discovered that — at its fastest — C. bombycina switches from running to a gallop, with all six feet off the ground at regular intervals.
Saharan silver ants are active outside their nests for only about 10 minutes a day, during which they search for heat-sticken lizards and other prey that they can pick apart and carry home.