Saturday, February 19, 2011


Adult Euroleon nostras
Phylum : Arthropoda
Class : Insecta
Order : Neuroptra
Family : Myrmeleontidae

Wingspan : 1-6in (2.5-15cm), varies by species

If we want to get technical, the term "Antlion" most commonly refers to the larvae of the family Myrmeleontidae, but it has come to be a collective term for the 2,000 different species as well. Antlions can be found in sandy and arid habitats worldwide.

Antlion Larvae
In North America these insects are also referred to as Doodlebugs, due to the the tracings that they leave in the sand when building their pit traps. Larvae build pit traps by creating spiraled funnel in loose soil. They then sit at the bottom of the trap with only their head exposed, waiting for prey to fall in.

The Antlion name comes from the fact that their larval form primarily hunts and consumes ants. Antlions spend a majority of their life in larval form, sometimes up to three years! Once they cocoon and become winged adults they live only for about a month, which is enough time to find a mate and reproduce.

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