By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
It looks like the fastest land animal on Earth, the cheetah, may have some competition from the spidery Paratarsotomus macropalpis mite!
Even though a cheetah’s 70 miles per hour speed blows away the mite’s 0.5 mph swiftness, the equation changes when you look at how quickly they can cover distances equal to their body’s length…
See, the cheetah can run 16 body lengths per second, and the fastest human alive – Usain Bolt – can run 6 body lengths per second.
For a long time, the body length speedster record was held by the Australian tiger beetle, which can move at 171 body lengths per second.
Now… are you ready to hear how fast the mite moves? A whopping 322 body lengths per second!
So, what does that mean exactly? Well, if a human could move 322 body lengths per second, it’d be like running over 1,400 mph. That’s basically how fast fighter jets can blast through the skies!
Of course, the tiny body size of the mite allows it to swiftly spring across the ground, so it definitely has something of an unfair advantage.
What scientists are really curious about now, though, is what sort of creature the mite likes to hunt. You know, since prey often evolve to be faster than their predators…
Images courtesy of Samuel Rubin, W.M. Keck Science Department of Pitzer College.