The salamander Bolitoglossa dofleini can flick out its tongue more than half its body length in about 7 milliseconds, or about 50 times faster than an average eye blink. Stephen Deban of the University of South Florida and his colleagues used high-speed video cameras and electrodes implanted in the salamanders’ tongue muscles to monitor the animals as they launched at live crickets. The findings revealed the tongues were propelled outward much faster than could be achieved by muscle contraction alone. The researchers think that still unidentified elastic tissue attached to the salamander’s tongue stores up energy in preparation for an explosive action. Deban likens the process to stretching and shooting a rubber band: the recoil occurs faster than the act of releasing a rubber band pulled taut. “The amount of energy doesn’t change; it’s just released faster,” Deban told LiveScience. How the salamander achieves its record power output is still unclear.