What animals can escape Usain Bolt

24 times faster than Usain BoltTHE FIELD SANDRUNNER

Have you ever noticed the beautiful field tiger beetle on the edge of the path or in the sand of glacier foreland? This insect whose shimmering body of emerald green, ivory and iridescent ruby ​​red is sure to make fans of The Fast an the Furious green with envy? Probably not, and for two reasons: It moves so fast that I've lost track of it several times when it started. In addition, most people don't know much about the world of insects in general.

The ground beetle is quick as soon as it hatches from the egg, but it is only a larva! It hides in a narrow, shaft-like hole in the ground, the size of which it continuously adapts to its growth. With her six eyes and delicate tactile hairs, she lies in wait and grabs every available prey in her vicinity.

When fully grown, the sandwalkers use their long, tapered legs to escape birds or catch prey in a flash. They run so fast that they keep stopping along the way, apparently to even see what is going on around them.

Or does the insect run so fast to be able to pack as much as possible into its all too short life? The question cannot be dismissed out of hand. Because a successful bug life is indeed a short life. After making love, the male dies, after laying eggs, the female. At best, a few months pass between birth and death; if things go bad, a few years. This is the case, for example, at higher altitudes, where warm seasons and phases with plenty of food are interrupted by long waiting times. To reproduce as quickly as possible and then leave the food to the offspring: what a fate. Subordinate one's own interests to those of the collective: Perhaps that is what lies behind the insects' secret of success.

We live on the same planet, but the world of insects is often not easy to understand. Four fifths of the currently known animal world is said to consist of insects, and they are an essential part of almost all food pyramids worldwide. Yet we probably know less than 2% of their species. The insect success story began 400 million years ago and seems to be progressing inexorably and at an increasing pace.