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Ballistic Jaw Propulsion of Trap-Jaw Ants
December 28, 2007 9:57 PM   Subscribe

The trap-jaw ant, best known for its powerful jaws which hold the land speed record for movement at 145 miles per hour, is brilliantly captured in a short film shot at 100,000 frames per second.

[via]
posted by dhammond (70 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
FUCK THAT THING
posted by Mikey-San at 10:02 PM on December 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


DO NOT WANT. Good post though, especially with the whole cordyceps and botfly things lately.
posted by KingoftheWhales at 10:06 PM on December 28, 2007


“One of the most amazing things about these trap-jaw ants is the way they can work together to stay safe,” says Fisher, who documented the cooperative behavior of an O. bauri colony in Costa Rica. “A group of ants can confuse predators by performing multiple, simultaneous escape jumps, creating what I call the ‘popcorn effect.’ The ants can also team up to perform group bouncer defense attacks on large intruders.”

Whoa. They know Kung Fu.
posted by maudlin at 10:15 PM on December 28, 2007


Quiet breeze, kinetic liquid momentarily pauses. Sunlight scramble to grasp, eightfold acceleration. Jaw gnashes.

FUCK THAT THING.
posted by Mblue at 10:17 PM on December 28, 2007


This video page is worth checking out for its explanation of what you're seeing.
posted by dhammond at 10:18 PM on December 28, 2007


Hmm, the cheesy fake sound effects in that video are annoying.
posted by delmoi at 10:19 PM on December 28, 2007


Without RTFA, is that speed or relative speed (relative to medium sized mammals)?

145 mph sounds absurd.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:23 PM on December 28, 2007


Holy crap.
posted by danb at 10:25 PM on December 28, 2007


Oh. Jaws, not land speed. Who the fuck decides to measure these things?

I <3 science.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:27 PM on December 28, 2007


Quiet breeze, kinetic liquid momentarily pauses. Sunlight scramble to grasp, eightfold acceleration. Jaw gnashes.

Dude, stop ripping off Thom Yorke.
posted by Mikey-San at 10:27 PM on December 28, 2007


This is like Eraserhead with ants.
posted by Camofrog at 10:31 PM on December 28, 2007


Thought I was ripping Iain Banks. Tell Thom Iain's better.
posted by Mblue at 10:35 PM on December 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


So does one of these guys ladies hit "go" and the just kind of...wake up somewhere else? It looks like having a grenade go off in your pocket, except without all the blood and dying.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:36 PM on December 28, 2007 [3 favorites]


That 145 MPH claim is a little deceptive. They mean it moves that fast for a distance of maybe half a centimeter. It can't sustain it.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:38 PM on December 28, 2007


Camofrog, I was reminded of Eraserhead as well. What a brilliant little art film these ants are starring in! The soundtrack is great, too. Top notch stuff, dhammond!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:48 PM on December 28, 2007


SCDB: That 145 MPH claim is a little deceptive. ... It can't sustain it.

Well, you stick your finger in there, then. G'wan, do it! What are you, chicken?
posted by spacewrench at 10:48 PM on December 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ouch.
posted by amyms at 10:57 PM on December 28, 2007


That was so great. Thank you.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:03 PM on December 28, 2007


That 145 MPH claim is a little deceptive. They mean it moves that fast for a distance of maybe half a centimeter. It can't sustain it.

Sustain it how? By continuing to close its jaws after they've shut? I don't get it.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 11:06 PM on December 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh holy Hell, where's a malignant brain fungus when you need it?
posted by louche mustachio at 11:09 PM on December 28, 2007


Outstanding. Thank you. Insects are endlessly fascinating, and the high-speed video is really mind blowing.

The first time I watched the video I had the sound turned off, and it reminded me of 2001 A Space Odyssey.

More bugs, more bacon, please.
posted by Tube at 11:39 PM on December 28, 2007


This is awesome, dhammond, thanks for the video. Those escape jumps are insane.

And the sound effects are hilarious.
posted by mediareport at 11:50 PM on December 28, 2007


Evolution has given us the fiercely biting and leaping ant, while intelligent design would have given us the thoughtful gifting and dried-fruit-gilding ant. This is why I hate Science.
posted by maryh at 11:57 PM on December 28, 2007 [5 favorites]


Simply by snapping their jaws against the ground or the body of an intruder, the ants can catapult themselves out of harm’s way, achieving heights of up to 8.3 centimeters and horizontal distances of up to 39.6 centimeters. If an average human were to travel along a comparable aerial trajectory, these numbers would translate to roughly 44 feet high and 132 feet long.

Someone's gotta write an ad for chewing gum, based on this premise.

Here's a fun page describing how fleas jump.
posted by not_on_display at 11:59 PM on December 28, 2007


Wow. Fantastic post. Thanks.
posted by donovan at 12:00 AM on December 29, 2007


I first saw this film on Wholphin #3. I thought it was art, not science. Is cool. Also,

FUCK THAT THING
posted by thinman at 12:05 AM on December 29, 2007


What's even cooler than this video (which is ridiculously cool) is the fact that these ants share a name with my favorite He-Man and the Masters of the Universe character.
posted by hifiparasol at 12:10 AM on December 29, 2007


MetaFilter: FUCK THAT THING
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:53 AM on December 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to note that trap-jaw ants have proportional sound effects of a Jackie Chan film almost 1000 times as large as their bodies.
posted by stavrogin at 1:03 AM on December 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Someone make it bigger, so's I can punch it in the head
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:14 AM on December 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


I love how, as soon as something gets adopted here, even by 5 or 6 people, we can get to the top of google hits.

I also think this is a great post.
posted by blacklite at 2:16 AM on December 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


1.) Aah-a-aaaahhhhhh!

2.) Someone make it bigger, so's I can FUCK THAT THING.
posted by bonobo at 2:18 AM on December 29, 2007


bonobo
I've no idea what FUCK THAT THING means.
bongogoing
?
posted by Mblue at 2:56 AM on December 29, 2007


Ironically, Mblue, those are the fuck-monkeys. Or eponysterically. Right, well, whatever, they're fucking-monkies. People say they get around.
posted by stavrogin at 4:51 AM on December 29, 2007


oh, wait, weren't you talking about bonobos?
posted by stavrogin at 4:56 AM on December 29, 2007


Fucking chimps, rather. But they're too busy singin'...
posted by bonobo at 4:58 AM on December 29, 2007


All that monkey-chimp distinction stuff really puts me down.
posted by stavrogin at 5:01 AM on December 29, 2007


...Just tryin' to be friendly...
posted by bonobo at 5:19 AM on December 29, 2007


Yeah, well, maybe I don't cotton to all that youth generation crap and maybe I don't want to hear what ya'll got to say.
posted by stavrogin at 5:27 AM on December 29, 2007


I had one of these things stuck up my urethra.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 5:47 AM on December 29, 2007


Did someone suck it out?
posted by stavrogin at 5:48 AM on December 29, 2007


Yeah, well, maybe I don't cotton to all that youth generation crap and maybe I don't want to hear what ya'll got to say.

Still, you better get ready. They may be comin' to your town.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:57 AM on December 29, 2007


If they wander into my town, I'll know, I'll god damn fucking know when those fuck ups walk down my street, and their fuckin' no goodnik hippie look gets shit from everyone.
posted by stavrogin at 6:13 AM on December 29, 2007


dhammond, sorry about derailing, but, hey, hey, it's the monkees.
posted by stavrogin at 6:18 AM on December 29, 2007


And people say they "monkey around". Which is the old-fashioned way of saying "derail".
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:21 AM on December 29, 2007


It's as if I walked into a Crispin Glover recording session and managed to get away before making eye contact and nearly getting kicked in the head. Gawd, I do so enjoy this place.
posted by bonobo at 6:23 AM on December 29, 2007


We've got nothing on Crispin Glover. He is the genius of derail.
posted by stavrogin at 6:33 AM on December 29, 2007


Not the dude I'd like in my pants. (Just realized how gay that sounds.)

But while I'm here, we can't forget the other marvelous snapper of the animal kingdom, the snapping shrimp (or pistol shrimp)
posted by aftermarketradio at 6:39 AM on December 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


which hold the land speed record for movement at 145 miles per hour

Deceptive.

Can't beat a cheetah in the hundred yard dash. Was looking forward to a pay per view Cheetah vs. Ant race. I will have to stick to my reruns of the Laff-A-Lympics for such entertainment.
posted by flarbuse at 6:49 AM on December 29, 2007


we can't forget the other marvelous snapper of the animal kingdom, the snapping shrimp

"The snap can also produce sonoluminescence from a collapsing cavitation bubble. As it collapses, the cavitation bubble reaches the surface temperature of the Sun."

Snapping shrimp wins.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:13 AM on December 29, 2007


145 mph sounds absurd.

Shit, I can snap my jaws at superluminal velocities. But I don't very often, because avoiding paradoxes with ingestion and excretion very quickly devolves into tiresome book-keeping and clock-watching.

Believe me, you want to chew your food well if you're going to poop it yesterday. And from the point of view of yesterday, you want to be pretty sure about what's in le poop so you eat the right stuff and remember to chew and swallow nonrelativistically. Otherwise, the paradoxes are... messy. And painful. There is bloating with a capital Blo.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:14 AM on December 29, 2007 [3 favorites]


And in other news, the human speed record exceeds 65 miles per hour.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:20 AM on December 29, 2007


The first time I watched the video I had the sound turned off, and it reminded me of 2001 A Space Odyssey.

When I watched it with the sound turned off it reminded me of an opening credit sequence in a Bond movie. With ants.
posted by mazola at 7:49 AM on December 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


In other news, I can snap my jaws while the train moves past lights. Marching ants echo.
posted by Mblue at 8:37 AM on December 29, 2007


Anybody know where to get the codec? Lately every time I make the mistake of clicking on a QT link I can't get the video and QT can't get it from the QT website, WTF?
posted by localroger at 9:07 AM on December 29, 2007


That 145 MPH claim is a little deceptive. They mean it moves that fast for a distance of maybe half a centimeter. It can't sustain it.

I rather think they mean its jaws move that fast. The snappy-snappy things.
posted by katillathehun at 10:13 AM on December 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Let me state this unequivocally, from the bottom of my heart and without reservation:

Under no circumstances do I welcome these new ant overlords.
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:32 AM on December 29, 2007


localroger, i have that same problem trying to view it in firefox or IE so I just use Orbit and then it plays fine after download. I hate quicktime.
posted by M Edward at 10:35 AM on December 29, 2007


Does anyone know the song in the background?
posted by OrangeDrink at 10:56 AM on December 29, 2007


Pistol shrimp, meet mantis shrimp. Mantis shrimp are known to break their aquaria, and can hit with power nearing that of a .22. The cool thing though, is that they have at least 8 different color receptors (to humans' three) as well as being able to see polarized light.
posted by agentofselection at 12:20 PM on December 29, 2007


I'll bet real money this ant can beat a cheetah on the 100 millmetres dash.
posted by Dr. Curare at 1:09 PM on December 29, 2007


I watched that 100,000 mph clip at around 10 AM this morning, dhammond, and I have just begun to come down from the experience Now I see why so many people start their day with MeFi. Grrr-rreat!

And aftermarketradio, the snapping shrimp was the first thing I though of, too. At night, on one of my boat's that needs the bottom of its hull cleaned harvested, I hear those little suckers all night long. And every day when snorkeling in the sponge gardens. The loggerhead sponges are full of them. I love telling people that that sound generates a tiny micro-dot of heat greater than 4000Kelvin. Nature rules!

But agentofselection, that mantis shrimp video was for the win! An fpp on that wittle "monster" is definitely in order. (If only to give people something to nightmare about other than botflies!)
posted by humannaire at 2:16 PM on December 29, 2007


Jaw speed and "land speed record" is quite confusing. Dogupyaz.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:37 PM on December 29, 2007


So let me get this straight, these ant, they rocket-hop?

Because that is just fucking crazy.
posted by quin at 8:37 PM on December 29, 2007


Wow, that was awesome. I loves me some arthropod action.
posted by malaprohibita at 2:41 PM on December 30, 2007


I'd just like to point out my displeasure that my previous comment doesn't make sense anymore. The first result for "FUCK THAT THING" was this post, but now it's not.

WOE.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:43 PM on December 30, 2007


How do you FUCK THAT THING?
How do you FUCK THAT THING?
I've tried and tried and tried and tried
But how do you FUCK THAT THING?
posted by danb at 9:33 PM on January 4, 2008


danb, if you don't know by now, brother, better not mess with it!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:40 PM on January 4, 2008


(I stolt it)
posted by danb at 9:49 PM on January 4, 2008


ha! that's funny stuff, danb!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:38 PM on January 4, 2008


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