What is the fastest animal in relation to body size? © Getty Images

What is the fastest animal in relation to body size?

Spoiler: it’s not a cheetah.

And the award for fastest animal in relation to body size goes to…. Paratarsotomus macropalpis, a sesame-seed-sized mite that lives amidst the pavements and rocks of southern California.

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The athletic arachnid has been clocked reaching speeds of 322 body lengths per second, which is the equivalent of a human running at 1,300 miles per hour. It’s more than 20,000 times smaller and 40 times faster than Usain Bolt, and it leaves the world’s fastest land mammal, the cheetah, eating dust.

What is the fastest animal in relation to body size? © Grace C/Wu et al/2010

If you think that’s fast, scientists suspect that the mite’s prey could be even speedier, but the elusive animal has yet to be identified or caught on camera.

Asked by: Ben Bason, Sheffield

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