Antlion
( Myrmeleontidae )


2013-0504-EB060704-NEU01054-Myrmeleontidae[1224h57s,H,A,dorsum]{JHeifetz}-G.jpg

PHOTO COMMENT

IDENTIFICATION
Identification:Myrmeleontidae
(Latreille ,1802 )
Common Name:Antlion
Life Stage:(A) adult

PHYLOGENY

Phylum:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Superorder:Neuropterida
Order:Neuroptera
Suborder:Myrmeleontiformia
Family:Myrmeleontidae
Taxon Code:NEU01054
ITIS/TSN:115093

LOCATION DETAILS
Location Name
Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, 5175 Somersville Rd., Antioch
County:Contra Costa County
ECI Site#:CAEB060700
Open Space Location:Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve

RECOGNITION
Description
Adult: Resemble Damselflies, but with longer, clubbed antennae. Body: Long and slender. Antennae: About the length of the head and thorax combined, clubbed, often curved at the tip like a field hockey stick. Wings: Transparent, mottled with brown and black. Larva: Robust with a very plump abdomen and sickle-like mandibles. Head: Comparatively much smaller than the abdomen and connected to the abdomen with a thin pronotum. Mandibles: Very long, thin and sickle-like with several sharp, hollow projections. Mandibles are used to inject digestive enzymes into prey.
Wingspan
North American species from 2-11 cm, but up to 15 cm for tropical species.
Body Length
40-80 mm.
Diversity
94 Species in 18 genera in America north of Mexico.
Similar Taxa
In California, Dobsonflies (Megaloptera: Corydalus); and Owlflies (Neuoptera: Ascalaphidae).
Colors
Color1: Grey-brown, with wings mottled with grey-brown and black.

BIOLOGY
Adults are mostly nocturnal or crepuscular, and are attracted to lights. Larvae create pits and lie in wait for arthropod prey to fall in. Pits are created in sand or loose soil, usually against a rock, log or amongst vegetation. Pits are dug by walking backward in loose soil or sand and flinging the substrate outward. The larva buries itself at the pit bottom with mandibles protruding. Prey that falls are grasped by the larva's mandibles and digestive enzymes are injected. Empty carcasses are flung from the pit. If prey tries to escape the larva may create an avalanche by flinging matter in the direction of the prey.
Food
Ants and other small arthropods that happen into the antlion's pit, especially Myrmelon sp. Larvae lie in wait for arthropod prey in conical pits created under sand or loose soil, usually against ground debris, such as a rock, log or amongst vegetation. Members of some other genera live in tree holes.
Habitat
Woodland, forests and deserts, wherever loose soil or sand occurs.
Diversity
94 Species in 18 genera in America north of Mexico.
Development
Larvae lack an anus and metabolic waste is stored until voided at the end of the pupal stage. Pupation occurs in a spherical, silken cocoon created within the pit.

CREDITS
Photographer
Jared Heifetz

References
Family Myrmeleontidae - Antlions. (http://bugguide.net/node/view/137). Accessed March 13, 2016. .
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