Powerful and deadly, trap-jaws are a record-breaking evolutionary innovation. Unlike normal gripping jaws, which rely on muscles to open and close, the trap-jaw latches itself open, storing energy like a stretched spring. When released, the jaws of the ant snap shut in one ultrafast strike. However, scientists still don't understand how this complex mechanism evolved. Now, publishing today in PLOS Biology, researchers have shown how trap-jaws originated and then diversified multiple times across the world.
- PLOS Biology
- Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, National Science Foundation, Tinker foundation at UIUC's center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies