Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Antlion

There’s something about antlions that I find stunning.  The shape of their bodies, the elegant pattern of venation on the wings, the cute little hooked antennae – I just love them.  Here’s one I found in Missouri while I was at BugShot last year:

anltion

Antlion

Check out those wings!  What a beautiful insect!

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17 thoughts on “Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Antlion

    • The name “Antlion” mostly refers to their habits as juveniles. Their larval forms are well know for living at the bottom of conical pits. Ants and other small animals fall into the pits and then cannot escape the jaws of the creature hiding at the bottom. I’d send you a link to Wikipedia but, you know, SOPA sucks. (Hey, we changed the minds of one of our Florida senators! Woot!)

      I’m actually not clear what the adults (like the one in the picture) eat, if they eat anything.

      Lacewings, relatives of antlions, also have fun larvae. They cover themselves up with bits of trash and debris and walk around looking like a little pile of dirt, but one that moves. These guys fascinated me for years before I found out what they actually transformed into. Their adult forms are a lovely insect that looks similar to the Antlion pictured here, but they are green with golden eyes, and the lines in the wings and the antenna aren’t as pronounced.

      • Well, well. Aren’t we the greatest source of information during the Wikipedia today? Excellent reply, which means I can focus on grading homework rather than writing antlion factoids. Thanks!

          • No, it’s definitely good. I’m always extra anal at the beginning of a class so that I’m sure everyone is understanding everything and I don’t let grading pile up. I know it’s a little crazy, but I actually LIKE grading for some reason… There’s clearly something wrong with me, but it also reminds me that I am on the right career path and that’s always a nice, comforting reminder.

    • I forget that antlions aren’t all over every wall at night everywhere else! They’re super common in Arizona, so I almost take them for granted. They are beautiful though, aren’t they?

  1. I adore antlions, and often played with the larvae as a child, keeping them in jars of dust and feeding them ants. Somehow, despite antlion pits being common here (northern california), I’ve never seen an adult, though I’ve found lacewings and stoneflies.

    • Strange that you don’t see adults! But how fun that you kept the antlions and observed them so closely! I would have loved doing that as a kid, assuming I’d known anything about antlions at the time, which I didn’t. If I ever have my own kids, I’m so going to do this with them!

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