Lure-jaw ants’ lightning-fast chunk ought to rip their heads aside. Here is why it does not.

Transferring at speeds 1000’s of instances quicker than the blink of a watch, the spring-loaded jaws of a trap-jaw ant catch the insect’s prey unexpectedly and can even launch the ant into the air if it goals its chompers on the floor. Now, scientists have revealed how the ant’s jaws can snap closed at blistering speeds with out shattering from the pressure.  

In a brand new examine, printed Thursday (July 21) within the Journal of Experimental Biology (opens in new tab), a workforce of biologists and engineers studied a species of trap-jaw ant known as Odontomachus brunneus, native to components of the U.S., Central America and the West Indies. To construct up energy for his or her lightning-fast bites, the ants first stretch their jaws aside, so that they type a 180 diploma angle, and “cock” them in opposition to latches inside their heads. Monumental muscle tissue, hooked up to every jaw by a tendon-like wire, pull the jaws into place after which flex to construct up a retailer of elastic vitality; this flexion is so excessive that it warps the edges of the ant’s head, inflicting them to bow inward, the workforce discovered. When the ant strikes, its jaws unlatch and that saved vitality will get launched directly, sending the jaws smashing collectively.      

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