How Fast Are Ants?

Among the smallest creatures on Earth, ants are one of the fastest. A Saharan silver ant can reach speeds of 855 millimeters per second. That’s faster than a human can move. It would take a human about three kilometers in an hour. That makes the ant a formidable predator.

The Saharan silver ant has lean bodies and powerful muscles. Its legs are stubby. The feet are only on the ground for a few milliseconds, making it possible for them to run at top speeds. These ants have aerodynamic body shapes, which help them survive in the desert’s blistering noontime temperatures. They also produce heat shock proteins before leaving their nest.

When they’re at the top of their game, all six feet are off the ground at once. The legs are so fast that ants can scoot at a speed of 855 millimeters per second. These ants aren’t the fastest animals in the world, but they’re among the fastest arthropods. They’re also among the fastest in terms of body length per second.

A dracula ant can run at 201 miles per hour. It’s so fast that the jaws snap shut in a mere 23 microseconds. Its jaws are fast enough to stun prey and bring it back to the colony.

Another species, the Californian coastal mite, can run at 322 body lengths per second. That’s faster than an elephant and mice can run head-to-head. It’s also faster than the fastest ant in the world, the desert dweller.