Chomp! Dracula Ant Jaws Move Faster Than Any Animal Part Known to Man

Wednesday, 12 December 2018 - 2:21PM
Weird Science
Wednesday, 12 December 2018 - 2:21PM
Chomp! Dracula Ant Jaws Move Faster Than Any Animal Part Known to Man
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www.antweb.org CC BY-SA 3.0 (links below)
According to a recent study from a team of researchers from the University of Illinois, a species of ant known as the Dracula ant has the fastest jaw science has ever seen-even faster than the quick punch of the mantis shrimp.

via GIPHY

Also known as Mystrium camillae, the Dracula ant can snap its mandibles at around 200MPH, which is four times faster than the mantis shrimp's two-fisted attack. Using high speed cameras to capture the movement and X-ray imaging to get a better understanding of how it works, the team, co-led by entomologist Andrew Suarez, learned that while "trap-jaw" ants snap their mandibles closed like pinchers, Dracula ants do almost the opposite. Their mandibles start in the closed position, and by pressing them firmly together, the ants turn their jaws into spring-loaded cannons that snap like fingers to strike their prey. "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. "The prey is then transported back to the nest, where it is fed to the ants' larvae." 

"Even among ants that power-amplify their jaws, the Dracula ants are unique," Suarez added. "Instead of using three different parts for the spring, latch and lever arm, all three are combined in the mandible." The video below shows that lightning fast movement at a much slower speed so that we can see it in action. RIP to its opponent, which we assume did not live to watch its own YouTube debut.



Cover image: www.antweb.org –  CC BY-SA 3.0
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