Which animal do you think is the fastest in the world? The typical answers would be cheetah, greyhounds or leopard; but it seems these wild animals can no more boast about their speed when taking into consideration their body size and other abilities. Researchers have found out Saharan silver ant (Cataglyphis bombycina) that can run at a speed of 855 millimetres (33.66 inches) per second! The ant manages to go at a speed of 108 times its body length per second while a cheetah can manage only 16 body lengths per second (FYI: World's fastest runner, Usain Bolt's top speed is 6.2). Sarah Pfeffer, who studies animal behaviour at Ulm University in Germany was quoted as saying, "They fly through the air with no feet on the ground from stride to stride." Biggest Bird in the World is Revealed! Flightless Elephant Bird Wins The Title After Decades of Research.
Another mind-blowing fact about this silver ant is that it runs across Sahara desert at blistering heat of over 50 degrees Celsius. Their high speed can be attributed to their long legs that help them keep their bodies farther from the scorching sand. And to resist the heat, their bodies produce heat shock proteins even before they leave their nest. Arctic Fox Covers Distance Of 3,500 Kms From Norway to Canada in 76 Days! Sets Record For Fastest Movement Ever Seen in The Species.
They had silvery hair that reflects the sun's rays and comes out of their nest when the desert is the hottest looking for food, which is generally animals that fell prey to the heat. They return back to their nest immediately after finding food to save themselves from dying from the intense heat. To learn about the ants, the scientists travelled to Douz, a town in southern Tunisia and patiently went through nearby dunes for silver hair to find the ants which were in motion. Details of the research have been published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
World's Fastest Ants Racing Across Saharan Desert:
Saharan silver ant gained the spot by putting behind the Californian coastal mite (Paratarsotomus macropalpis) which strides at 322 body lengths per second, and the Australian tiger beetle (Cicindela eburneola) at 170 body lengths per second. To capture the animals, the researchers laid an aluminium channel along the ground and placed mealworms and bread crumbs at the end. They attached it to a downwards-facing high-speed video camera to record the ants. The footage shows the ants coordinating their movement with great precision. They were recorded covering 85.5cm per second in 47 strides and between each stride, every ant touched the ground for seven milliseconds.