Monday, November 12, 2007


Antlion behavior: Digging the pit

The antlion is called the
And lives beneath the soil's
Tunneled rug
Waiting in its dark
For some delicious

The antlion larva digs its pits in dry,
sunny spots sheltered from wind and rain, particularly on south-facing slopes. The soil must be light and easy to shift. Pushing itself backward, the larva first draws a circle on the ground. Then, digging deeper and deeper, it spirals in toward the center. The dirt that is dug out is thrown out energetically with the head. After only about 15 minutes, the antlion has made a funnel-shaped crater in the earth. The antlion larvae prepare the sides of their pits with fine sand or soil particles so ants that fall in can't climb out, and land in the jaws of the "doodlebug" waiting at the bottom. It buries itself at the bottom so that only the head, with opened jaws, can be seen, and there it waits for its prey.

Antlion larvae eventually pupate in the soil, becoming adult insects that look somewhat like dragonflies, except that they are more fragile and are weak fliers.. Antlions are beneficial to man because of their ant diet and they cause no problems.


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