World's Fastest Animal Is Very, Very Small
When speed is measured in body lengths per second, that is
By Catherine Straut, Newser User
Posted Apr 29, 2014 7:03 AM CDT
A different kind of mite.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Watch your back, Usain Bolt: A California physics major has found that a tiny mite is (sort of) the fastest land animal on Earth, keeping a pace equivalent to that of a human running 1,300 miles per hour, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Why "sort of"? As UPI points out, this finding is based on measuring speed relative only to body size, rather than looking at total distance traveled. Paratarsotomus macropalpis is smaller than a single sesame seed—and can run up to 322 body lengths per second.

So, while the mite isn't exactly covering much ground, by that measure this tiny insect clocks in about 20 times faster than a cheetah, Science Daily reports. But a cheetah wasn't the previous record holder in this category: That honor went to the Australian tiger beetle, which can cover 171 body lengths per second. Samuel Rubin, the student who measured the mite's speed, says the finding was "so cool"—but could also be useful. "Looking deeper into the physics of how they accomplish these speeds could help inspire revolutionary new designs for things like robots or biomimetic devices," he says. (Another new record-holder: the world's deepest-diving mammal.)

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Showing 3 of 9 comments
Norman Johnson
Apr 29, 2014 4:59 PM CDT
Bugs don't count.Everyone knows they have almost no body wieght.As for a real animal that can move at blinding speed, I nominate a Cicero rat.
Numberdude
Apr 29, 2014 3:48 PM CDT
I expected to see the speed in MILES PER HOUR or some other unit of distance per time. Who cares about "body lengths"? We don't measure speed that way for anything that I know of. If we did that for human races, the first person to cross the finish line might not be the winner. We'd have to consider the length of his "stride", which is ridiculous.
tbat
Apr 29, 2014 10:15 AM CDT
Ever try to catch a cockroach?