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Sierra wormlion larva - Vermileo comstocki

Sierra wormlion larva - Vermileo comstocki
Yosemite National Park, California, USA
July 26, 2008
This isn't much to look at, but I figured one dirty larva was better than having a whole family unrepresented in BugGuide. I dug it out of its antlion-like pit in the dust under a bridge.

Darn right it's better than nothing!
Congratulations on getting this great shot and providing the first bit of info. to this otherwise unpopulated area of the site. I'm very curious as to how you knew it was a wormlion pit vs. an antlion pit? Are they noticeably different or did you just figure it out when you uncovered the larva?

So, a while back I was trying to do some research on Vermileonidae and did not come up with tons of information, but had saved several internet links and I thought perhaps they might be of interest to you. If you think any of them are worthwhile, perhaps you would be willing to add them to the Guide pages as there are currently no Internet References listed.

A couple of images of adult Vermileo species:
(None of them are from N. America, I'm afraid...)

Portugal sp.

Portugal sp. (II)

French sp. (Also, shows larva.)

A couple of articles on Vermileo species:

Univeristy of California Riverside
(Brief paragraph, but full of interesting info.)

Substrate particle size preference of wormlion larvae (D. Devetak)
(Fascinating study, definitely worth a read, if you haven't already!)

Wormlions in Los Angeles County?!!!
Harsi, I just got an email from a man in your area (Duarte) who discovered wormlions among the antlions along the side of his house. I may be operating on outdated information, but my understanding is that they are supposed to be restricted to the Sierras. Guess you'd better keep an eye out for them!

Woah! Interesting news!
Yeah, Duarte is about 15-20 miles from my place (depending on where he lives). Did he happen to mention what kind of habitat/elevation he found them at? It's really funny that you should mention for me to keep an eye out for these guys... You see, it turns out I was WAY wrong, but I really thought that my very first image post to BugGuide was a bona fide Vermileo species. See here for the post and the reveal as to what I actually photographed. Still, it is encouraging to know that it might actually be possible to find one and I will definitely be paying close attention to the antlion pits once the weather starts warming up again!

I've added your links to the genus page (I haven't gotten the last one to work on my computer, but I'm pretty sure the problem is with my connection/settings rather than the link).

I was specifically looking for wormlions that day, and at that point all I knew was that they made antlion-like traps and lived somewhere in the Sierras. So I dug up quite a few antlion traps before I was successful. However, when I saw the pits under this bridge, I was pretty sure I had found them, because three things stood out as unusual: one, they seemed less regular than the perfect inverted cones of antlions; two, many of them seemed unusually narrow, relative to their depth; and three, some of them were extremely small (down to 1.5 mm in diameter). As I later realized when reading Wheeler's Demons of the Dust, all of this could be attributed to the two insects' different methods of digging: the antlion larva backs around in ever-narrowing circles, while the wormlion sits in place and flicks the dust out.

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