Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes

Calendar
Upcoming Events

Photos of insects and people from the Spring 2021 gathering in Louisiana, April 28-May 2

National Moth Week 2020 photos of insects and people.

Photos of insects and people from the 2019 BugGuide Gathering in Louisiana, July 25-27

Discussion, insects and people from the 2018 gathering in Virginia, July 27-29

Photos of insects and people from the 2015 gathering in Wisconsin, July 10-12

Photos of insects and people from the 2014 gathering in Virginia, June 4-7.

Photos of insects and people from the 2013 gathering in Arizona, July 25-28

Photos of insects and people from the 2012 gathering in Alabama


TaxonomyBrowseInfoImagesLinksBooksData
Photo#735268
Antlion larva (Doodlebug) - Myrmeleon

Antlion larva (Doodlebug) - Myrmeleon
Near Westwood, elevation 5100', Lassen County, California, USA
September 19, 2011
Size: Body length 11mm
These awesome looking mandibles serve two purposes:

1. Constructing their conical pit-trap; which they accomplish while traveling backwards in a downward spiral in the sand or dirt - and using their mandibles with those outward facing spines to "flick" sand and dirt up and outward from the pit-trap, until a perfect conical pit is made. The pit of a full grown antlion can be up ot two inches (50mm) in diameter. See also these pit-traps:


2. Catching prey. When an ant, or some other bug stumbles into the pit-trap, the antlion larva, which is buried in the sand or dirt at the bottom of the pit, seizes the prey with those big mandibles. If the prey at first escapes those mandibles, and tries it's escape up the walls of the conical pit-trap, then the antlion uses it's mandibles to flick more sand upward, which causes the prey to tumble back down towards those waiting jaws. This flicking of the sand is quickly repeated until the prey is either caught or escapes out of the pit trap. The antlion larva usually wins. The prey is often pulled down under the sand where where the antlion larva feeds on it.

Images of this individual: tag all
Antlion larva (Doodlebug) - Myrmeleon Antlion larva (Doodlebug) - Myrmeleon Antlion larva (Doodlebug) - Myrmeleon