The comic-book hero Ant-Man, which hits the big screen in North America on July 17, may be small—but he's got some serious superpowers.
In the movie based on Marvel's Avengers series, a blast of atom-squeezing particles transforms Ant-Man from human to insect size. Even at just 0.5 inch (1.3 centimeters), he maintains his original speed and strength.
Impressive as Ant-Man's fictional feats may be, he might find himself trounced by some of the world's fastest and strongest creatures, which also come in very small packages.
From ants with incredibly strong jaws to shrimp with uber-speedy strikes, many animals are worthy of superhero status.
"We tend to associate fast things with large stuff in engineering because we power using combustion. But you can get more muscle power at a smaller size," says Sheila Patek, a biologist at Duke University.
Here are a few examples of what nature has to offer—should the Avengers come a-calling.