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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Antlion

For several evening while taking the dogs for their evening walk I've spotted these two antlion traps next to the cattle path. One would think that this is a very dangerous spot for them, considering what damage a cows hoof could do. Obviously the antlions have weighed up the pro's and con's and decided it's worth the risk. Notice that the traps are right on the edge of the path.

I remember as a child watching these traps avidly for hours waiting for an ant to meet it's doom, sometimes assisting in it's demise. Once in these traps there is no escape for an ant, the sides just keep crumbling under it's feet, and quick as a flash the antlion grabs it's helpless prey.

Antlions are the larval form of Myrmeleontidae insects, also known as doodlebugs in North America.


Photo above that I took this evening, of the two antlion traps.


Diagram of the antlion funnel, with antlion catching it's prey. (Wikipedia)


Every ants worse nightmare! (Wikipedia)


The beast turns into a beauty. (Wikipedia) The adult form of this insect, also know as an antlion lacewing.

6 comments:

Kay L. Davies said...

Oh my goodness, Phillip. I never thought I'd feel sorry for ants, but that is an extremely scary creature. Ugh.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Joel said...

Golly! That brought back some memories! I haven't seen one of those in a very long time. I was born in The south of France and I used to do exactly like you, Philip...These wee beasties are really fascinating, we had some in our garden, and I could spend hours watching out for them, even feeding them ants, shame on me! I wouldn't do it though.

Thank you for posting this.

Gorges Smythe said...

You may remember me mentioning doodlebugs in one of my sawmill posts. Thanks for showing the adult form; I've never seen one to know what it is.

Shoreman said...

We've got tons of these in the area under the porch. They are considerably smaller than the ones I used to see growing up as a kid in Florida. We certainly have more than enough ants to keep them all fed.

Mark

Pumice said...

Talk about the origin of "slippery slopes." My ex-preacher mind sees all kinds of spiritual and political applications.

Grace and peace.

Aquahoma said...

when I was little we would take a small stick and stir the outside of the hole and say DOODLE BUG DOODLE BUG COME OUT AND PLAY and he'd jump up out of the hole thinking an ant was in his nest. lol then we'd find fire ants to put in the w=hole for him.