Tibor's Musings

Fastest Ants

Ants are fast. Really fast. Who is the ant champion of speed? And what would it take for a human to move the same way?

Odontomachus bauri. The fastest movement ever measured in the animal world. Mandible closure time from open wide to fully closed in 0.0003-0.001 sec. This is to capture small collembollas, or to "catapult himself up" over a distance of 40 cm and more, by clapping his mandibles against a stone rather than at a prey. Scaled to human size, the mandible closure speed would correspond to the fist movement of 3 km/s, i.e. a fist faster than a rifle bullet!

Pretty amazing, the ants. There is more than 9,000 ant species, with very great diversity and way of life.

Gigantiops destructor. Extremely good mosaic eyes with 4000 facets, capable of memorising and recognising terrain perfectly. In the lab they learn fast to memorise geometrical symbols like ellipse, circle, triangle, square, etc.

Cataglyphis. Very good at orienting, capable of detecting polarised light, to calculate its position with respect to the sun and the nest.

Just a few examples of ant champions.