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Nature & Environment

Cheetah loses title as fastest land animal

By T.K. Randall
April 30, 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)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #29 Posted by DieChecker 9 years ago
Math time! I estimate its size at about 0.25 cm. It move at 322 body lengths per second. That means it moves about 8 cm/sec. That's .08 m/sec. 4.8 meters per minute. 288 meters per hour. 0.288 km/hr. That's less than a fifth of a mile per hour--about twenty times slower than a person walking. Relative speed? Sure, it's stupid fast. Absolute speed? Not even in the picture. 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... [More]
Comment icon #30 Posted by ChrLzs 9 years ago
Lol sorry ChrLzs, the echo wasn't about the content of your post being similar to mine. It was because you posted the same content twice in your post Lol sorry ChrLzs, the echo wasn't about the content of your post being similar to mine. It was because you posted the same content twice in your post mmmmmmm, yes, I see that now..... But it wazzunt me - my keybraod was durnk!!! But it wazzunt me - my keybraod was durnk!!! But it wazzunt me - my keybraod was durnk!!! But it wazzunt me - my keybraod was durnk!!! Yes, there is an echo in here. Anybody got a duck? I want to test this theory I heard.... [More]
Comment icon #31 Posted by Realm 9 years ago
Last I knew, a mite wasn't an animal. Cheetah still the winner in my books.
Comment icon #32 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 9 years ago
Last I knew, a mite wasn't an animal. Well it's not a mineral or a vegetable. It is quite definitely part of the animal kingdom. Mites, along with ticks, are small arthropods belonging to the subclass Acari (also known as Acarina) and the class Arachnida. Source: wikipedia An arthropod is an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton (external skeleton), a segmented body, and jointed appendages. Source: wikipedia
Comment icon #33 Posted by Lilly 9 years ago
Mites are animals...itty bitty animals but animals none the less (and fast as well).
Comment icon #34 Posted by Lobotomy 9 years ago
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 9 years ago
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. 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 8 years ago
So I ask you. Would you rather be chased by a cheetah or by a California mite?
Comment icon #37 Posted by toast 8 years ago
So I ask you. Would you rather be chased by a cheetah or by a California mite? 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 8 years ago
I wish they all could be Californian


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