Scientists from the University of Ulm in Germany identified a silver ant from the Sahara desert as the fastest species of this insect in the world. It lives in the Sahara, the African desert where sand can reach temperatures of 60ºC.

According to the study, which used cameras and was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology in October, during the hottest time of the day, the species can cover 85.5 centimetres per second which corresponds to 108 times the length of its body – the equivalent to a human moving at 643 km/hr (a speed that is faster than the quickest bullet train in the world).

The speed of these ants is one of the mechanisms that helps them survive in the desert. When it is hotter, they go out searching for food, which includes the remains of animals that die due to high temperatures. Thanks to their speed, they find food quickly and do not need to be away from the anthill in the intense heat for very long. Also, they have silver fur, which deflects sunrays, and have advanced skills to locate themselves in their surroundings.

Speed x Body Size
Scientists make calculations based on the speed reached by animals, taking body size into consideration – so the results are proportional. Check it out:

Cicindela hudsoni (a type of Australian tiger beetle): covers 171 times its body length in one second. Reaches up to 9 km/hr.

Cheetah: covers 16 times its body length in one second. Reaches up to 115 km/hr.


1) How does the speed of the Sahara silver ants help them survive?

a) It helps them escape predators.

b) It helps them find food faster.

c) It helps teamwork on the anthill.

d) It helps them search for sugar in towns close to the desert.

2)Why is it not recommended that the Sahara silver ants stay a long time away from the anthill?



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