Pound for pound, the fastest land animal is a mite

Illustration for article titled Pound for pound, the fastest land animal is a mite

Everybody knows that a cheetah is the world's fastest land animal. But what if you take the size of the animal into account? If you measure speed by body-length-per-second, a tiny mite about the size of a sesame seed is actually the fastest.

From Scientific American:

Paratarsotomus macropalpis, a sesame seed–size mite found in southern California, is the speediest terrestrial animal, according to body-length-per-second measurements reported in a new study.


Usain Bolt, one of the world's fastest humans, runs at a top speed of about 23 miles per hour, or 6 body lengths per second. The cheetah can reach 16 body lengths per second. But the tiny paratarsotomus macropalpis mite can zip around at 322 body lengths per second.

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Image via Associated Press: May 26, 2014 photo, 7-year-old male Asiatic Cheetah, named 'Koushki,' hunts a rabbit after its been released by rangers at the Miandasht Wildlife Refuge in Jajarm, northeastern Iran.

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