Linking Muscle Strength, Area, Mass & Volume…

“A muscle’s strength is proportional to its cross-sectional area, and an animal’s mass is proportional to its volume. The volume of an animal decreases more sharply than the muscle cross-sectional area as the animal under consideration gets smaller, so a mosquito is “stronger”than the much larger vulture and can take on a greater pro rata load. This also explains why other insects, such as ants, can lift objects that are many times their own body mass.

If a vulture ate three times its own body mass – as a mosquito does – it wouldn’t have the strength to lift itself off the ground. In fact, some vultures vomit from their crop (a special food storage sac near their throat) when threatened by a predator to enable them to make a speedier getaway.” (Buckton, 2017, p.57).


Buckton, S. (2017) Blood Sausage. New Scientist. 13 May 2017.



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