True Facts: Trap Jaw Ants

April 14, 2021 by 40 Comments

True Facts T-shirts:

Thank you to Dr. Adrian Smith! Most of the footage in this video is from Dr. Smith’s YouTube channel. He has all sorts of wonderful content there, and does a much more thorough job in explaining all of the science behind his work.

Thank you to Dr. Alex Wild! Please look at Dr. Wild’s incredible collection of photos:

Thank you Dr. Fred Larabee, Josh C. Gibson
and DR. Eduardo Fox for their amazing footage.


Booher DB, Gibson JC, Liu C, Longino JT, Fisher BL, Janda M, et al. 2021. Functional innovation promotes diversification of form in the evolution of an ultrafast trap-jaw mechanism in ants. PLoS Biol 19(3): e3001031.

FOX, E.G.P., SMITH, A.A., GIBSON, J.C. & SOLIS, D.R. 2017: Larvae of trap-jaw ants, Odontomachus LATREILLE, 1804 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae): morphology and biological notes. โ€“ Myrmecological News 25: 17-28.

Larabee, Fredrick J. and Suarez, Andrew V. 2014. “The evolution and functional morphology of trap-jaw ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae).” Myrmecological News 20: 25โ€“ 36.

Larabee FJ, Suarez AV 2015. Mandible-Powered Escape Jumps in Trap-Jaw Ants Increase Survival Rates during Predator-Prey Encounters. PLOS ONE 10(5): e0124871.

Larabee, Fredrick J., Smith, Adrian A. and Suarez, Andrew V. 2018. Snap-jaw morphology is specialized for high-speed power amplification in the Dracula ant, Mystrium camillae R. Soc. Open Sci 5: 181447

Smith, A.A. 2019. Prey specialization and chemical mimicry between Formica archboldi and Odontomachus ants. Insect. Soc. 66, 211โ€“222.


40 Replies to “True Facts: Trap Jaw Ants”

  1. Dragonslayr says:

    Jerry is so good at making these representations

  2. M0ZZ1E33 says:

    That termite was most definitely talking shit.

  3. "…like having a biter in the ball pit…" ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚
    Honestly, how does he come up with these?! So funny!

  4. So the trap jaw is faster than pistol shrimp?

  5. I love the ant world! Mildred has me as a new fan ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ Thank you so much!!

  6. Roach DoggJR says:

    Watching that ant bounce off the floor made me laugh harder than what it probably should've.

  7. Cragmortis says:


  8. Jen B says:

    โ€œThat is some very niche magic.โ€ Iโ€™m dead.

  9. โ€˜Thank goodness because it encourages themโ€™ ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  10. Doo_Wacko says:

    "The bleep button is a privilege" line broke me. ๐Ÿ˜‚

  11. Larry Wolf says:

    And now I must play SimAnt again.

  12. Robert Quinn says:

    This is the part where I just quote something from the video you just watched and act original

  13. Teemo says:

    0:11 did she just… snap at the ground…

  14. dcrow4 says:

    When Mildred flung herself straight up out of the antlion's pit, I immediately heard the Shooting Stars meme

  15. Austin says:

    I'm so happy you started making videos again.

  16. These are my favorite insects

  17. Sheruru says:

    scientist doesn't get paid much and that's what encourages them. LMAO

  18. DAD5Draco says:

    2:16 She's training for Worker life.

  19. AnimeMemers says:

    โ€œThe bleep button is a privilegeโ€ best line

  20. Of Existence says:

    ant jaws: โ€œyouโ€™re gonna need a smaller boat!โ€

  21. These scripts are more original than the scripts for 99.9% of Hollywood movies

  22. Uhm, you need to knock it off with the not full music video.

  23. 1:38 did my own thoughts just get censored?

  24. Zacti says:

    Wait the antlions from half life are a actual thing

  25. 7:27 nature's equivalent of rocket jumping

  26. I want to know the backstory to the prior beef between Mildred & Dr. Smith's finger. It could make for a good Marvel movie. ๐Ÿ˜‚

  27. KATSCHACCC says:

    So good to hear your voice again๐Ÿ˜

  28. Haha, live fast die young, am I right lads, we've all been there๐Ÿ˜….

  29. I called it! I love trapjaws

  30. rolay 7 says:

    I just looked up antlions, and they live in America. I assumed they were some exotic bug, but now that I know this, I am annoyed that no fallout games used them. I mean, they have giant normal ants, but that thing making a human-sized sand trap could be amazing and terrifying.

  31. Termite talking mad shit for someone in stabby stabby mandible range.

  32. jobanh7ify says:

    No ant was harmed on the making of this video.

  33. Snapping jaws are cool. But what always amazes me, is that ants don't kill themselves using them. Just imagine yourself, punching a wall so hard your body gets catapulted several meters back. Human would have to be very lucky to survive such experience – for ants it's every time they want to eat something.

  34. Another wonderful birthday present!! Thank you!!

  35. 5:10 What about the Mantis Shrimp's punch? Thought that was some mortal kombat finishing shit.

  36. 5:28 love how he was to lazy to make the full thing so he just made half and mirrored it

  37. Cosiek says:

    Jerry needs to learn how to edit. The bleeps he adds live are getting really awkward.