Despite its stubby legs, the Saharan silver ant (Cataglyphis bombycina) is the fastest ant in the world, speeding along at 855 millimeters per second—or 200 meters per second if it were the size of a human, Science News reports. The ant, which lives anthills in the northern Sahara, likely evolved its speed to cope with the blistering temperatures of noonday. That’s when it scavenges for food, in temperatures that can hit up to 60°C. Researchers who recorded the ants for the first time in the wild say that the ant—whose legs are 18% shorter than its closest cousin—make up for their stumpy limbs by taking more strides each second; up to 47 for the silver ants running at top speed versus 36 for their taller relatives, they report this month in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
Read our COVID-19 research and news.