PacSci-Doku: “Spring-Loaded Escape”

By Dennis Schatz – Senior Advisor

 

Do you Sudoku? It’s one of the hottest number games around! Well, here’s a twist we think you’ll love. We call it PacSci-Doku. Can you guess why? Here’s how it works. Instead of filling in the blanks with numbers, we use letters. Hidden in one of the columns or rows is the answer to a science question. You’ll find information about the answer on the answer tab below.

The question in this edition is:

What kind of ant uses its spring-loaded mandibles to escape from its prey?

To find the answer, complete this PacSci-Doku using the following nine letters:

E  e  A  K  G  N  C  B  R

PacSci-Doku: Spring-Loaded Escape

The Puzzle

Puzzle Difficulty: Medium

The Answer

 

PacSci-Doku: Spring-Loaded Escape

The Answer

The question in this edition is:

What kind of ant uses its spring-loaded mandibles to escape from its prey?

The answer: Trap-Jaw

Trap-jaw ants close their jaws close faster than any other animal in the world. The jaws have a hinge that allows the two mandibles to snap shut at up to 150 miles per hour. This makes it a formative hunter, but also provides an interesting way to avoid predators. If they snap their jaws shut against the ground, the force generated can send them flying into the air, and thus away from anything trying to capture them. You can see this in action as a trap-jaw ant tries to escape from an ant lion.

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