Ants can carry objects 50 times their own body weight


Ants are eusocial insects of the family Formicidae and, along with the related wasps and bees, belong to the order Hymenoptera. Ants evolved from wasp-like ancestors in the Cretaceous period, about 140 million years ago, and diversified after the rise of flowering plants. More than 12,500 of an estimated total of 22,000 species have been classified. They are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and the distinctive node-like structure that forms their slender waists.

Ants thrive in most ecosystems and may form 1525% of the terrestrial animal biomass.Their success in so many environments has been attributed to their social organisation and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves. Their long co-evolution with other species has led to mimetic, commensal, parasitic, and mutualistic relationships. Ants have colonised almost every landmass on Earth. The only places lacking indigenous ants are Antarctica and a few remote or inhospitable islands.

Ant societies have division of labour, communication between individuals, and an ability to solve complex problems. These parallels with human societies have long been an inspiration and subject of study. Many human cultures make use of ants in cuisine, medication, and rituals. Some species are valued in their role as biological pest control agents.


Ants dont have special muscles that give them super strength. In fact, their muscles are actually quite a bit like the muscles of other animals. Their ability to exploit resources may bring ants into conflict with humans, however, as they can damage crops and invade buildings. Some species, such as the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta), are regarded as invasive species, establishing themselves in areas where they have been introduced accidentally.

Ants can lift big sticks, leaves, and some can even carry a full-grown grasshopper. Of course, they couldnt lift a fork at the dinner table like you can. Their strength is all relative to their size.

When it comes to figuring out how they are so strong, it also helps to do a bit of measuring, One thing we can look at is the animals volume, or the amount of space something takes up. Then, theres the surface area of the object. When we measure the outside of an ants body we can find its surface area. As you observed, a regular-sized ant is able to lift things much heavier than itself.

If we doubled the size of an ant, the surface area of the ant would also double. But its volume would actually more than double. This is an idea that holds true with pretty much all objects. If things appear twice as big, they actually weigh more than twice as much.

You may have also heard ants wear their skeletons on the outside. Their muscles dont have to support such a heavy skeleton, so they can instead use their strength to help carry other things.

Ants and other insects have a large surface area compared to their volume. And the muscle strength of an animal is pretty closely related to surface area. Its true ants are strong, but its all compared to their size.

Ants are super-strong on a small scale because their bodies are so light. Inside their hard exoskeletons, their muscles dont have to provide much support, so they are free to apply all their strength to lifting other objects. Humans, in contrast, carry comparatively heavy loads due to our body weight. With our muscles supporting our body weight, we dont have as much strength left over to lift other objects. The reason they can lift so much more than they weigh is because they are very small. If we were that small, we could do it too. A small animal lifting many times its weight is not the same as a large animal lifting many times its weight. The reason has to do with simple geometry and the characteristics of muscles.


Also ants can lift so much is due to a concept of physics known as scaling. In fact the muscles of ants are no stronger than human muscles, but it is their small size that provides their advantage. Ants can lift so much because of the ratio between their body size and body mass; their small size means they do not have a large body mass and the proportion of their mass that is muscle is very high.

According to different estimates, ants can carry objects 10 - 50 times their own body weight in their jaws. Ants use their diminutive size to their advantage. Relative to their size, their muscles are thicker than those of larger animals or even humans. This ratio enables them to produce more force and carry larger objects (in the case of an ant, milligram-for-milligram of objects). If you had muscles in the proportions of ants, you'd be able to heave a Hyundai over your head!

Posted by: Lusubilo A. Mwaijengo

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