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Ant carrying a lead weight


wood ant lifting

Wood ants lifted 9.7-times their body weight.

wood ant carrying

Wood ants carried 18.5-times their body weight.

wood ant pulling up

Wood ants pulled up 12.2-times their body weight.

wood ant during capacity testing

Wood ants carried 39.7-times their body weight on their thorax.

During our experiments we discovered that wood ants carried 30 to 40-times their body weight over the testing distance. We tested several worker ants with our top weight of 352.9 mg but not all of them could carry this burden. Those who could carry this weight displayed significant differences in body weight. Outstanding was one ant weighing only 8.7 mg who could therefore carry 39.7-times its body weight.

We compared this achievement to that of German silver medallist in weight lifting (Ronny Weller) at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. He pulled 210 kg and pushed 257.5 kg, himself weighing 146.48 kg. In comparison to the wood ant he should have lifted 5815 kg, the weight of a tram carriage, and carried this weight over a distance of 50 meters.

Plot 1: exact weight habitat

Plot 1 - exact weight (natural habitat)

Plot 2: relative habitat

Plot 2 - relative weight (natural habitat)

Plot 3: exact weight formicarium

Plot 3 - exact weight (formicarium)

Plot 4: relative formicarium

Plot 4 - relative weight (formicarium)