How Fast Do Ants Move?
Several species of ants run at speeds up to nine body lengths per second. Some, such as the fire ant, have been measured to run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. A species called the Saharan silver ant has been found to run at 855 millimetres per second, making it the fastest insect in the world.
The average ant’s speed is around 0.15-0.3 mph. In some cases, ants reach speeds up to two inches per second. These ants use the “alternating tripod” gait system, moving their front and back legs of one side each in one step. They also use the “grounded running” strategy, keeping their center of mass low to reduce the risk of falling.
A group of researchers recently tracked down a colony of foraging ants in Tunisia. They recorded the ants’ motion sequence on a high-speed camera. They then analyzed the data using a cursor. They found that the shape of the ants’ motion bouts resembled the shape of a null model trajectories.
They also found that the length of the ant’s stride increased during the movement. They compared the ant data with a synthetic time series. This synthetic data omitted the ant’s determination of its future speed, which influenced the speed fluctuations. It also ignored the ant’s history, which is likely to have had an impact on its future speed.
The researchers found that the ants’ speed exhibited an autocorrelation, a common pattern of speed changes in animals. The findings suggest that the speed of ants may be a key factor in their foraging decision.