The Antlion - Characteristics


Surname: Antlion
Latin name: Myrmeleontidae
class: Insects
size: about 1cm
mass: ?
Older: 1 - 3 years
Appearance: six-legged, gray-brown colored
Sexual dimorphism: No
Nutrition type: Insectivore (insectivore)
food: Ants, smaller insects
distribution: worldwide
original origin: unknown
habitat: as sunny and dry as possible, sandy ground
natural enemies: Parasitic wasps, predatory insects
sexual maturity: Admission with the development to ant dam
mating season: June August
Threatened with extinction: Yes
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.

Interesting facts about the antlion

  • As an ant lions the larva of the ant damfer is called. These insects are net-winged and form their own family. Worldwide there are about two thousand species, only a few of them are native to Central Europe.
  • This genus is known especially because of the highly specialized prey-catching technique of larvae.
  • The antlion is found in Europe and Asia, as well as in much of Central and South America, Africa and Australia.
  • Ant lions prefer to live in soils in sunny places, never in shady places. They are found in forest clearings, at forest edges, in dry plains and grasslands as well as on slopes and near hedges and bushes.
  • Depending on the distribution area, the individual species of ant lions differ in their way of life. The appearance, however, is very similar in all ant lions.
  • Ant lions are brown or gray colored and about one centimeter long. They have six legs and a broad, bug-like abdomen that appears slightly arched. On the head are two distinct jaw tweezers that resemble long sickles in their shape. This allows the antlion to take its prey and suck it.
  • The antlion bears his name, as he prefers to feed on ants, but also on other small insects crawling on the ground.
  • As the antlion builds its traps in trickling sand and hides there, it only stays in dry places. Rain and wet conditions would cause the grains of sand to clump together, preventing him from catching any prey.
  • The antlion builds funnels in the sand that serve as traps for its prey. These fall into the funnel and can no longer move upwards due to the sand trickling inwards and the sand fountains additionally produced by the antlion. In the middle, the antlion waits for the prey to literally fall into his claws and be pulled into the sand by him.
  • He injects a digestive juice into his victim and then sucks it out, before he removes the remains from the drogue and waits for new prey.
  • Still hidden in the sandy soil, the adult ant lion starts spinning his cocoons until he finally evolves into a doll after a few weeks. After leaving the pupal hull, he digs himself to the surface to find a plant to climb. Once at the top, he unfolds his wings and shows his heavily modified dragonfly-like shape for the first time.