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Cheetah loses title as fastest land animal

Posted on Wednesday, 30 April, 2014 | Comment icon 38 comments

The cheetah has officially been dethroned. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Malene Thyssen

The famous cat might be fast but there's one creature that puts even the cheetah's run speed to shame.

A team of researchers has discovered that it is in fact a tiny inconspicuous mite from Southern California called Paratarsotomus macropalpis that holds the record for world's fastest land animal.

The miniscule critter is capable of running at 322 body lengths per second, a speed that if scaled up to human size would be the equivalent of Olympic champion Usain Bolt running at 1300 miles per hour. By comparison the cheetah can only run at a paltry 16 body lengths per second.

The team used high-speed cameras to measure the mite as it scurried along the ground. While it's relative speed blows anything else out of the water, the researchers believe there could still be even faster creatures out there.

"We were looking at the overarching question of whether there is an upper limit to the relative speed or stride frequency that can be achieved," said biologist Jonathan Wright who lead the study. "When the values for mites are compared with data from other animals, they indicate that, if there is an upper limit, we havenít found it yet."

Source: Washington Post | Comments (38)

Tags: Cheetah, Mite, Speed

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #29 Posted by DieChecker on 1 May, 2014, 2:10
Actually 322 times 0.25cm is 80.5 cm, almost a meter. 0.805 cm/s = 4830 cm/min = 2898 m/hr = 2.9 km/hr (1.8 mph).... or about the speed of a walking human. That seems pretty fast for a grain of rice to me.... I think you lost a 0 in there somewhere.
Comment icon #30 Posted by ChrLzs on 1 May, 2014, 2:51
mmmmmmm, yes, I see that now..... But it wazzunt me - my keybraod was durnk!!!
Comment icon #31 Posted by Realm on 1 May, 2014, 7:45
Last I knew, a mite wasn't an animal. Cheetah still the winner in my books.
Comment icon #32 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 1 May, 2014, 11:25
Well it's not a mineral or a vegetable. It is quite definitely part of the animal kingdom. Source: Source:
Comment icon #33 Posted by Lilly on 1 May, 2014, 12:44
Mites are animals...itty bitty animals but animals none the less (and fast as well).
Comment icon #34 Posted by Lobotomy on 1 May, 2014, 19:09
So how would this constitute the Cheetah 'losing its title as the fastest land animal' exactly? In that case an ant is stronger than an African Bull Elephant. That that then!
Comment icon #35 Posted by theotherguy on 1 May, 2014, 22:29
Ah, you're right. I lost track of the zeros almost immediately, which is kind of embarrasing. Even so, 1.8 mph is a pretty slow walk--I believe a casual stroll is about 3 mph for most people.
Comment icon #36 Posted by SaraT on 2 June, 2014, 19:36
So I ask you. Would you rather be chased by a cheetah or by a California mite?
Comment icon #37 Posted by toast on 2 June, 2014, 20:15
Well, if the cheetah is of the size of a California mite and the California mite is of the size of a cheetah I would say the cheetah is ok for me.
Comment icon #38 Posted by Junior Chubb on 2 June, 2014, 23:51
I wish they all could be Californian

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