Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Dracula ant clocked as fastest animal

The agile Dracula ant is the fastest animal in the world. Credit: Adrian Smith.

Lydia Lynch, Aussie ant crowned fastest in the animal kingdom, Brisbane Times, 12 December 2018

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.

While cheetahs and great white sharks usually come to mind when considering the fastest movers in the animal kingdom, the title actually belongs to an Australian ant.

The speedy little Dracula ant has just set a new record for having the fastest animal movement on earth.

American scientists have used high-speed video to record their jaws going from zero to about 320km/h in 0.000015 seconds.

The agile ant uses a snapping mechanism to quickly slide their mandibles across each other – just like a finger snap.

Dracula ants get their name from their strange desire to suck the blood of their children, senior curator of insects at Queensland Museum Dr Chris Burwell said.

Dr Burwell said the adult worker ants pierce the skin of their babies to drink their blood – but fear not, the babies survive.

Australian green thumbs need not worry about coming across one of these predatory critters in their backyards. The Dracula ant is elusive and generally likes to snack on centipedes.

It is also only found in northern Australia.

The American scientists, who have published their findings on the Dracula ant in the Royal Society Open Science journal, said animal speed is crucial knowledge and can determine whether animals are predators or prey.

The speedy arthropod has developed latches and springs in its jaws to overcome the limits of muscle power, which allows it to compete for food.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for information purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. No claim is made as to the accuracy or authenticity of the content of the website. The Council of Australasian Museum Directors does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or the use of such information or advice) which is provided on this website. The information on our website is provided on the basis that all persons accessing the site undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content. No responsibility is taken for any information or services which may appear on any linked web sites. Hostgator.