There's a simple explanation as to why ants are so strong. It's their tiny size. And it can be explained with physics. Here are a few basic physic facts (now don't freak out at the thought) that can help you understand what I'm talking about about.
- The strength of a muscle is proportional to the surface area of its cross-section.
- Surface area, therefore, is a two-dimensional measurement, and it is measured according to the square of its length.
- An animal's size and mass, on the other hand, is determined by volume. Volume is a three-dimensional measurement and is calculated by multiplying three dimensions.
In larger animals, them much greater volume and mass means the muscle strength must be far greater to maintain the same level of strength relative to body weight. "In larger animals, muscles also have the added burden of moving the larger body volume and mass along with whatever object is being lifted." Other insects, including tiny ants, have a strength advantage because of a larger ratio of "surface of volume to mass." I found it interesting to learn that ants don't have internal skeletons but have a hard exoskeleton shell. Not having the weight of an internal skeleton, the ant's body (weight) can be comprised of a higher amount of muscle.
But ants are the "weightlifting champions" of the insect world. That title goes to the dung beetle who can lift 1,141 pounds. In human perspective, that means your average weight lifter would be able to lift 180,000 pounds (81646.6266 kilograms)! And in closing out today's blog on ants, is another fun fact. The ant with the worst bite is the bullet ant found in tropical rainforests. How'd it get its name? It's because the sting of this ant is said to feel like getting shot with a bullet and it can last a full 24-hours. YIKES!
I hope you enjoyed learning about the strength of ants, even though i threw in some physics. I hope you'll come back tomorrow when I can promise you another fascinating tidbit of information...with no physics or math! Until then, stay safe and I wish you much