Published: Sat, December 15, 2018
Science | By Michele Flores

Dracula ant's jaw snap is fastest on Earth at 320km/h

Dracula ant's jaw snap is fastest on Earth at 320km/h

According to a study by the University of IL the Dracula ant, also known as Mystrium camillae, can snap its jaws 5,000 times faster than the blink of a human eye at 320 kilometres per hour, making it the fastest-known animal movement on the planet.

The movement of the ants' mandibles is so fast that scientists had to use incredibly fast cameras to observe them.

The Dracula ant actually presses the tips of its jaws together, increasing the force while they're locked in place.

The ants use the explosive motion to attack, stun and kill prey, which is then fed to their larvae.

Specifically, the "Dracula ant" native to Southeast Asia and Australia, which can move its mandibles over 200 miles per hour.

The Dracula ant is one of at least six lineages of ants that have evolved with power-amplified jaws adapted for high-speed movements.

"Ants use this movement to strike other arthropods, probably by stunning them, crushing them against the wall of a tunnel, or pushing them".

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In the next step, the researchers examine how the ants use their mandibles in the field.

"By comparing the shape of the Jaw of the snap-ants with biting ants serve, we have also learned that only a small Change in the Form is necessary so that the jaw is developing a new function: as a spring", said Larabee.

"Our main findings are that snap-jaws are the fastest of the spring-loaded ant mouthparts, and the fastest now known animal movement", Larabee said.

In a study, published today, scientists said the fastest animal movements incorporate latches and springs into their appendages to overcome muscle power limits.

A team of researchers was studying the Dracula ant-scientific name Mystrium camillae-in order to understand how its mandible mechanism works.

"We also discovered that snap-jaw mandible shape is specialized for bending, consistent with their use as a flexible spring", they said. "Their [Dracula Ant] biology, how they capture prey and defend their nests, still needs a description", said Adrian A. Smith, of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State University, Raleigh, as reported by EurekAlert. Many publications facing an uncertain future can no longer afford to fund it.

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