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article imageMite sets land-speed record

By Tim Sandle     May 3, 2014 in Science
A mite from Southern California sets the new record for world’s fastest land animal. That is, the mite is faster than a cheetah relative to body size.
A mite called Paratarsotomus macropalpis, was recently clocked at 322 body lengths per second. This makes the sesame-seed-size species the fastest land animal on Earth.
According to a new study, second on the list is the Australian tiger beetle, which can scurry at 171 body lengths per second. In third place, is the cheetah, which tops out at a measly 16 body lengths per second. In terms of speeds, the cheetah can reach around 64 miles per hour; the mite in question, 4 miles per hour. The results were announced at the Experimental Biology 2014 conference in San Diego this week.
To put the ability of the mite into context: a human being would have to run about 1,300 miles per hour to match the mite’s body-size-adjusted pace.
Lead researcher, Samuel Rubin, said in a research brief: "It’s so cool to discover something that’s faster than anything else, and just to imagine, as a human, going that fast compared to your body length is really amazing. ut beyond that, looking deeper into the physics of how they accomplish these speeds could help inspire revolutionary new designs for things like robots or biomimetic devices."
Rubin and his advisor, Pomona College biologist Jonathan Wright, used high-speed cameras to film the mites in the lab and in the Southern California desert, to which the species is endemic.
The research findings have been published in The FASEB Journal, the paper is titled "Exceptional locomotory performance in Paratarsotomus macropalpis mites (878.1)."
More about mite, Speed, Land, Race, Mammal
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