Watch 'Monster' Ants Attack Prey Faster Than the Blink Of an Eye
With the help of high-speed cameras, scientists have finally solved the mystery of how some ants can snap their jaws shut in half a millisecond—700 times faster than the blink of an eye.
Two species of Myrmoteras trap-jaw ant use a special set of joints and muscles to spring-load their massive mandibles before releasing them to slam shut on prey, according to a new study.
“Think of it like a giant crossbow, ready to fire,” says co-author Andrew Suarez, an entomologist at the University of Illinois. (See "Ant With Lightning Jaws Makes World's Fastest Strike.")
This system is completely different from the four other groups of trap-jaw ants, which use a simple combination of latch, spring, and trigger to