Dracula Ant Found to Be Fastest Creature on Earth

The Dracula ant, nature's fastest mover on record, can snap its jaws at 320kph

The analysis revealed that Dracula ant mandibles complete their strike in as little as 23 µsec and reach peak velocities of 90 m/s (more than 200 mph), making them the fastest known animal appendage.

Scientists from the University of IL with a high-speed camera filmed the incredibly fast movement of the jaws ant Mystrium camillae, which is also called "Dracul".

Not only will your super-fast snap-on tools make Mystrium camillae to a special feature: The insects that are mainly found in the Southeast Asian tropics, and Australia, belong to the group of the Dracula ants. "The ants use this motion to smack other arthropods, likely stunning them, smashing them against a tunnel wall or pushing them away", Suarez explained in a statement. This usually involves the three parts working in unison, but in the Dracula ant they are uniquely combined in the mandible. They are said to press the tips together, while internal stress is released in a move reminiscent of a snap of the finger.

It is a good thing the Dracula ant is not the size of a crocodile, because their jaws snap shut 5000 times faster than the blink of an eye.

Getting their moment on the camera wasn't easy as they are incredibly fast.

They use venom to stun their prey which are then brought back to the colony for the larvae to feed upon. Their name wasn't derived from the wicked snap-jaw, but for from their extremely unusual feeding habits.

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"Hungry Dracula ants scratch and chew holes into their larvae and suck out the hemolymph, the ant equivalent of blood". Scientists say that Dracula ants now hold the title.

The team's future work includes examining how ants use their jaws in the field.

"By comparing the jaw shape of snapping ants with biting ants, we also learned that it only took small changes in shape for the jaws to evolve a new function: acting as a spring", added Fredrick J. Larabee, a postdoctoral researcher and also an author of the study.

After they carried out computer simulations of mandible snaps from different species, researchers better understood just how the ants are capable of generating so much power and speed in their jaws.

"We also discovered that snap-jaw mandible shape is specialized for bending, consistent with their use as a flexible spring", they said.

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