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Ultrafast Animals: The Force Behind Trap-Jaw Ants

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When people think of the fastest animals, most consider running cheetahs, flitting hummingbirds, or jumping kangaroos. But there’s a level above what we think of as “fast”: Ultrafast organisms conserve energy and move in nano- or even micro-seconds.

Sheila Patek, PhD, an associate professor in the biology department at Duke University, discusses her research on ultrafast creatures, including the powerful punch of the mantis shrimp and the force behind trap-jaw ants. By using high-speed digital cameras, Dr. Patek and her colleagues are among the first in their field to successfully analyze in slow motion the biology and intention behind these movements.

Dr. Patek goes into more depth about the biology behind ultrafast movements in an interview with associate editor Katie L. Burke.

Learn more: http://www.americanscientist.org/science/pub/ultra-fast-animals-research

American Scientist is the illustrative, award-winning magazine of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society and is your source of science, technology and engineering news and features since 1913! Visit our website at http://www.americanscientist.org.

© 2014 Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society

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