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11 January 2011

Ants can lift weight 100 times heavier than their own body

The image above is not a fake, not photoshop contest or something. It's real! The photo above shows a real ant lifting weight 100 times heavier than his own body upside down with his jaws. The 500 mg marks on the weight is not a joke. Its mean that ant (weighted 5 mg) lifting 500 mg weight objects (100 times heavier). If the scale is equated, the circumstances is same as a man with 75 kg (150 lbs) lifting 7,500 kg (15,000 lbs) weight. That is impossible, right? Who the hell can lift 7.5 tons of weight with bare hand?

But ants does, they can lift something 100 times heavier than their own bodies. The more amazing fact is that ant can lift that kind of weight while they sticking on wall or something. On the picture above, that ant is carrying 500 mg weight while he stick on the glass upside down. He can sticking on the shiny and slippery glass surface while lifting weight. How the ants do that? According to Dr Endelin from Cambridge: "Ants can change the size and shape of the pads on their feet depending on the load they are carrying. If they have to carry heavy loads they increase the contact area, and when they need to run they decrease it."

The ant's legs also play a part in the insect's stickiness by making clever use of what scientists call "peeling forces". "If you think about peeling off sticky tape from a surface, it's easiest when you peel at a steep, rather than a shallow, angle. Ants use the same mechanism: when they want to stick, they keep their legs at a shallow angle relative to the surface, and when they want to release their legs they increase this angle and peel off easily," he says.

As well as shedding light on ants' seemingly gravity-defying feats, the Cambridge research could help scientists develop better glues. According to Dr Endelin: "The pads on ants' feet are self-cleaning and can stick to almost any type of surface. No man-made glue or adhesive system can match this. Understanding how animals can control their adhesive systems should help us come up with 'clever' adhesives in the future."

[Source: University of Cambridge]

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