I hesitated to ask this question because it seems so obvious and intuitive. However, I am not able to explain this tendency.
It seems to me that small organisms make faster movements than big organisms. I don't mean that they are able to travel at higher speed (the cheetah is a big animal and is the fastest terrestrial species) but I mean that their movement are fast, quick and their members undergo high acceleration.
I would guess for example that the legs of a tiger beetle (clade of fast sprinter beetles) (see movie) undergo much higher acceleration than the legs of a cheetah (fastest terrestrial organism on earth) (see movie). To avoid taking the extreme, I would think that the legs of a Drosophila (see movie) undergo higher acceleration than the legs of a dog (see movie). The organism that is able to create the fastest acceleration is the mantis shrimp. Wikipedia says:
Both types (smashers and spearers) strike by rapidly unfolding and swinging their raptorial claws at the prey, and are capable of inflicting serious damage on victims significantly greater in size than themselves. In smashers, these two weapons are employed with blinding quickness, with an acceleration of 10,400 g (102,000 m/s2 or 335,000 ft/s2) and speeds of 23 m/s from a standing start. Because they strike so rapidly, they generate cavitation bubbles between the appendage and the striking surface. The collapse of these cavitation bubbles produces measurable forces on their prey in addition to the instantaneous forces of 1,500 newtons that are caused by the impact of the appendage against the striking surface, which means that the prey is hit twice by a single strike; first by the claw and then by the collapsing cavitation bubbles that immediately follow. Even if the initial strike misses the prey, the resulting shock wave can be enough to stun or kill the prey.
Finally, note that Gabel and Berg (2003) show that the flagella can rotates up to 270 Hz.
Am I right to think that small organisms tend to make faster movements than big organisms?
If yes: Why do small creatures make faster movements?
- Does it has to do with time for chemical diffusion?
- Does it has to do with mechanics? ($F=ma$... But muscles are smaller as well).
- Does it has to do with the resistence of biological tissues?