A Southern California mite Paratarsotomus macropalpis set a new record as world's fastest land animal. Cheetah was the last record holder. The findings were presented during the Experimental Biology 2014 meeting in California.
The mite can run 20 times faster than a cheetah and the equivalent of a person running 2092km per hour. The mite runs on concrete up to 60 degrees Celsius, a temperature significantly higher than the upper lethal temperature of most animals.
Although the mite Paratarsotomus macropalpis is no bigger than a sesame seed, it was recently recorded running at up to 322 body lengths per second. Body lengths per second is a measure of speed that reflects how quickly an animal moves relative to its body size.
The Australian tiger beetle, tops out at 171 body lengths per second. By comparison, a cheetah running at 97km per hour attains only about 16 body lengths per second.
Samuel Rubin, a junior and physics major at Pitzer College led much of the fieldwork to document the mite's movements.
The mite is local to Southern California and is often found running along rocks or sidewalks.
Where: Southern California
When: 28 April 2014