The Powerful Bite of Trap-Jaw Ants

Posted on August 21, 2006

Trap-jaw ants, Odontomachus bauri, have the fastest bite of any animal. Jaws of trap-jaw ants slam shut at more than 145 miles per hour and deliver a force over 300 times their bodyweight. The incredible ants can bite the ground and fly into the air to escape predators.

University of California Museum of Paleontology curator and professor Sheila Patek received a FedEx box full of the Costa Rican trap-jaw ants in the mail before she made the discovery using high-speed cameras to capture that ants rapid jaws in action.

Here is a video of a trap-jaw ant biting into the ground to escape. The video is 100 times slower than real time. Take a look:

Here is a couple more videos where trap-jaw ants use their powerful bite to fling themselves backwards and forwards. Take a look:

The research about the trap-jaw ants bite was published here in PNAS.

Updated: 2-19-12