ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Science

The lightning sting of the trap ants should rip their heads off. That’s why it’s not.

ADVERTISEMENT

A slow-motion movie of a trap-jaw ant (Odontomachus brunneus) releasing its mandibles.
Written by admin

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Moving at speeds thousands of times faster than the blink of an eye, the trap ant’s spring-loaded jaws catch the insect’s prey by surprise, and can also throw the ant into the air if it aims its rodents at the ground. Now scientists have figured out how an ant’s jaws can close at lightning speed without collapsing.

In a new study published on Thursday (July 21) in Journal of Experimental Biology (will open in a new tab)a group of biologists and engineers studied a type of ant trap called Odontomachus brunneus, native to parts of the US, Central America and the West Indies. To build up strength for their lightning-fast bites, ants first open their jaws to form a 180-degree angle and “cock” them against the latches inside their heads. Enormous muscles, attached to each jaw by a tendon-like cord, pull the jaws into place and then flex to create a store of elastic energy; this flexion is so strong that it deforms the sides of the ant’s head, causing them to bend inward, the team found. When an ant strikes, its jaws open and the stored energy is immediately released, causing the jaws to collide with each other.

#lightning #sting #trap #ants #rip #heads

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

About the author

admin

Leave a Comment