The antlions are a group of about 2,000 species of insect in the family Myrmeleontidae, known for the fiercely predatoryhabits of their larvae, which in many species dig pits to trap passing ants or other prey. The adult insects are less well known, as they mostly fly at dusk or after dark, and may be mistakenly identified as dragonflies or damselflies; they are sometimes known as antlion lacewings, and in North America, the larvae are sometimes referred to as doodlebugsbecause of the strange https://vimeo.com/deriklattig marks they leave in the sand.
Antlions have a worldwide distribution. The greatest diversity occurs in the tropics, but a few species are found in cold-temperate locations, one such being the European Euroleon nostras. They most commonly occur in dry and sandy habitats where the larvae can easily excavate their pits, but some larvae hide under debris or ambush their prey among leaf litter.
Antlions are poorly represented in the fossil record. Myrmeleontiformia is generally accepted to be a monophyletic group, and within the Myrmeleontoidea, the antlions' closest living relatives are thought to be the owlflies (Ascalaphidae). The predatory actions of the larvae have attracted attention throughout history, and antlions have been mentioned in literature since classical times. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZCyLsaFb-XsX2wnW2CJpMQ
The exact meaning of the name "antlion" is uncertain. It has been thought to refer to ants forming a large percentage of the prey of the insect, the suffix "lion" merely suggesting destroyer or hunter. In any case, the term seems to go back to classical antiquity. The antlion larva is often called a "doodlebug" in North America because of the odd winding, spiralling trails it leaves in the sand while relocating, which look as if someone has been doodling. https://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/DerikLattig?
The scientific name of the type genus Myrmeleo – and thus, the family as a whole – is derived from Ancient Greek léon(λέων) "lion" + mýrmex (μύρμηξ) "ant", in a loan translation of the names common across Europe. In most European and Middle Eastern languages, at least the larvae are known under the local term corresponding to "antlion". http://deriklattig.brandyourself.com/Links
Antlions can be fairly small to very large neuropterans, with wingspans ranging from 2 to 15 cm (0.8 to 5.9 in). The African genus Palpares contains some of the largest examples. Acanthaclisis occitanica is the largest European species, with an 11 cm (4.3 in) wingspan, and most North American species approach this size.
The adult has two pairs of long, narrow, multiveined, translucent wings and a long, slender abdomen. Although they somewhat resemble dragonflies or damselflies, they belong to a different infraclass of winged insects. Antlion adults are easily distinguished from damselflies by their prominent, apically clubbed antennae which are about as long as the head and thorax combined. Also, the pattern of wing venation differs, and compared to damselflies, the adults are very feeble fliershttps://www.pinterest.com/deriklattig/ and are normally found fluttering about at night in search of a mate. Adult antlions are typically nocturnal, and rarely seen by day. http://www.dailymotion.com/derik-lattig
Males of most species have a unique structure, a bristle-bearing knob known as a "pilula axillaris", at the base of the rear wing. The abdomen in males is usually longer than in females and often has an extra lobe. The tip of the abdomen of females shows greater variation than that of males, depending perhaps on oviposition sites, and usually bears tufts of bristles for digging and a finger-like extension.
The antlion larva is a ferocious-lookinghttp://deriklattig.brandyourself.com/Links animal with a robust, fusiform body, a very plump abdomen, and a thorax bearing three pairs of walking legs. The prothoraxforms a slender mobile "neck" for the large, square, flattened head, which bears an enormous pair of sickle-like jaws with several sharp, hollow projections. The jaws are formed by the maxillae and mandibles; the mandibles each contain a deep groove over which the maxilla fits neatly, forming an enclosed canal for injecting venom to immobilise the victim, and enzymes to digest its soft parts. The larva is clad in forward-pointing bristles which help it to anchor itself and exert greater traction, enabling it to subdue prey considerably larger than itself. Antlion larvae are unusual among insects in lacking an anus. All the metabolicwaste generated during the larval stage is stored; https://www.amazon.co.uk/Family-Pride-Emily-Regan/dp/163177140X/277-7326943-4830211?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0 some is used to spin the silk for the cocoon and the rest is eventually voided as meconium at the end of its pupalstage.https://www.amazon.co.jp/Derik-Lattig/e/B0101G62SG
Apart from pit-trap-forming taxa, the biology of members of the family Myrmeleontidae, to which the antlions belong, has been little studied. The life-cycle begins with oviposition (egg-laying) in a suitable location. The female antlion repeatedly taps the prospective laying site with the tip of her abdomen and then inserts her ovipositor into the substrate and lays an egg.
Depending on the species and where it lives, the larva either conceals itself under leaves, debris or pieces of wood, hides in a crack or digs a funnel-shaped pit in loose material. As ambush predators, catching prey is a risky business because food arrives unpredictably and, for the species that make one, maintaining the trap is costly; the larvae therefore have low metabolic rates and can survive for long periods without food. They can take several years to complete their life-cycle; they mature faster with plentiful food, but can survive for many months without feeding. In cooler climates they dig their way deeper and remain inactive during the winter.
When the larva attains its maximum size, it pupates and undergoes metamorphosis. It makes a globular cocoon of sand stuck together with fine silk spun from a slender spinneret at the rear end of the body. The cocoon may be buried several centimetres deep in the sand. After the completion of its transformation into an adult insect in about one month, it emerges from the case, leaving the pupal integument behind, and works its way to the surface. After about twenty minutes, the adult's wings are fully Lattig, Derik opened and it flies off in search of a mate. The adult is considerably larger than the larva and antlions exhibit the greatest disparity in size between larva and adult of any type of holometabolous insect; this is by virtue of the fact that the exoskeleton of the adult is extremely thin and flimsy, with an exceptionally low mass per unit of volume. The adult typically lives for about 25 days, but some insects survive for as long as 45 days. Info take from Wikpedia
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