01 October 2013

Antlion larva

This is one of a variety of critters that lie in wait beneath those conical depressions in the sand.  What an amazingly evolved adaptation of the mouthparts.

Photo by J. Gallego (gallery here), via Neatorama.


  1. Or an amazing creation for a particular niche.

  2. Wow. That sure doesn't look like the ones that I used to find. The legs are much more prominent and the neck is CONSIDERABLY longer. I wonder why they evolved such a long neck.

  3. Another small gallery including photos of the adult insect: http://www.naturamediterraneo.com/forum/pop_printer_friendly.asp?TOPIC_ID=56303 (probably not the exact same species, but very closely related)

  4. We used to love digging up ant lions when I was a kid, and have them tickle our palms as they tried to dig. The adults don't look like that. If they did, I don't know whether I would have been so eager to dig them up and play with them, even when I was young and brave!

    1. There are different species of ant lions; this is obviously a particularly bizarre one.

  5. Brad, antions feed in the same manner spiders do. Their pinchers are hollow, and they inject a venom into their pray to immobilize, kill, and digest it, then the suck it dry via the pinchers.

    For anyone wondering, yes it does hurt when one bites you. The best way to handle them is to keep your palm open so you don't present any folds of skin they can grab onto. In over forty years of handling them, I've never been bitten, but I know people who have.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...