An Ant in the Sahara Clocks in Record Speed

Scientists have recorded the speed of the world’s fastest ant, which lives in the Sahara and is able to travel 108 times its own body length per second. The Saharan silver ant, Cataglyphis bombycina, can reach speeds of 0.855 meters per second with its high-frequency strides. The ants’ silver color also gives them some relief from the heat, as their shiny coats reflect sunlight and infrared, helping to keep them relatively cool. The team had to look for digging ants or follow a foraging ant back to its nest. Once they had located one, an aluminum channel was joined to the entrance with food at the end — to entice the ants out. The scientists then filmed them from above to work out their speed. They also excavated a nest, which they took back to Germany to record the ants running more slowly in cooler temperatures. The team’s findings, based on experiments conducted in Tunisia, will be published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. 


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