Dracula ants set record for fastest animal movement: Study

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The ant, also known asMystrium camillae, can snap it’s jaw at speeds up of more than 200 mph, according to a report inRoyal Society Open Science.

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The mandibles of the Dracula ant, Mystrium camillae, are the fastest known moving animal appendages,, according to a new study.(Photo: Adrian Smith)

An insect known as the Dracula ant has set a record for having the fastest-known animal appendage.

The ant, also known asMystrium camillae, can snap its jaw at speeds up to more than 200 mph, according to a report published in the peer-reviewed journalRoyal Society Open Science.

The quick motion is made when Dracula ants press the tips of their mandibles together, spring-loading them like a human snapping fingers.University of Illinois animal biology and entomology professor Andrew Suarez, who was involved in the research, said this motion is used to stun prey before it is brought back to the ant’s nest and eaten.

“Scientists have described many different spring-loading mechanisms in ants, but no one knew the relative speed of each of these mechanisms,” said researcherFredrick J. Larabee, a postdoctoral researcher at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

The research team used special cameras and X-ray imaging to track the ant’s movements in 3D.

Dracula ants are fairly rare,Larabee told USA TODAY, and live inunderground in forests in Southeast Asia and Northern Australia.

They plan to further study how Dracula ants capture prey and defend their nests.

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Dracula ants set record for fastest animal movement: Study

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