OTHER NAME

Doodlebug.

FAMILY

Myearmeleontidae

TAXONOMY

Myearmeleon formicarius Linnaeus, 1767, Europe.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Large, very lengthy lacewing. The head and thorax are brief and stout, and the stomach could be very elongate. Body is brown with tan markings; antennae are thickened apically. Wings very elongate, slim, and hyaline. Venation is mottled brown, black, and white. Larvae are strong and ovoid-shaped with massive curved jaws. Body is customized for burrowing backward by means of sandy soil.

DISTRIBUTION

Western Europe.

HABITAT

All kinds of habitats, particularly sandy desert or savanna areas.

BEHAVIOR

Adults are energetic at evening and sit on foliage in the course of the day. The elongated physique and brown coloration of the grownup function crypsis as they lie flat in opposition to a twig or department. Larvae rapidly burrow deep into the sand to keep away from predation when the pit is disturbed by something bigger than a small prey merchandise.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Adults are generalist predators, capturing prey on the wing. Larvae assemble conical pits in effective, sandy soil by flicking sand out of the pit with speedy upward actions of the pinnacle. The larva waits on the backside of the pit with solely its massive jaws uncovered. When an acceptable prey falls into the pit, the larva rapidly seizes the prey by impaling it and injects paralyzing venom earlier than dragging it beneath the sand floor.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The grownup feminine lays egg in sandy soil. Larvae burrow by means of the soil and kind conical pits, usually below overhangs or in caves, to keep away from precipitation which will disturb the pit and drown the larva. When growth is full, the larva spins a spherical cocoon from silk produced from the anus, which is impregnated with sand particles.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Antlion larvae, or “doodlebugs,” have lengthy been established in human folklore, significantly in youngsters’s chants or charms, usually from international locations all over the world which were influenced by Europeans. Many charms referring to doodlebugs particularly cite the conical pits fashioned by the larva or their peculiar reverse-burrowing conduct.

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