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Bug of the Day: Ant Lion

Ant lionThe ant lion, or Myrmeleontidae if you want to be precise, starts out life as a plump slow-moving larva with two oversized pincers. Because it is too slow to catch most of it's prey the larva constructs a sand trap (shaped like a "V") and buries itself at the base of the pit until only it's pincers are visible.

The ant lion larva now only needs to wait patiently at the bottom for ants (or other insects) to slide down the sloped sides of the sand trap into it's open jaws. If it's hapless prey is able to catch itself before falling to the bottom the ant lion will throw loose dirt toward the trapped insect, helping it to slip further towards it's doom!

After up to two years as a larva the ant lion will encase itself in a cocoon, undergo metamorphosis, and emerge as a slender winged adult.

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