Animal World

Arthropods: Crustaceans, Insects, and Spiders

How much weight can an ant carry?

The jumping power of fleas comes both from strong leg muscles and from pads of a rubber-like protein called resilin. The resilin is located above the flea’s hind legs. To jump, the flea crouches, squeezing the resilin, and then it relaxes certain muscles. Stored energy from the resilin works like a spring, launching the flea. A flea can jump well both vertically and horizontally. Some species can jump 150 times their own length. To match that record, a human would have to spring over the length of two and a quarter football fields—or the height of a 100-story building—in a single bound. The common flea (Pulex irritans) has been known to jump 13 inches (33 centimeters) in length and 7.25 inches (18.4 centimeters) in height.

Ants are the “superweight lifters” of the animal kingdom. They are strong in relation to their size and can carry objects 10 to 20 times their own weight—some species can carry objects up to 50 times their own weight. Ants are able to carry these objects great distances and even climb trees while carrying them. This is comparable to a 100-pound person picking up a small car, carrying it seven to eight miles on his back and then climbing the tallest mountain while still carrying the car!


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