The Ant Lion Is A Thunderstorm Of Harmful Insects. Photo

The Ant Lion Is A Thunderstorm Of Harmful Insects. Photo
The Ant Lion Is A Thunderstorm Of Harmful Insects. Photo

Video: The Ant Lion Is A Thunderstorm Of Harmful Insects. Photo

Отличия серверных жестких дисков от десктопных
Video: This Antlion is a Devious, Cold-Blooded Killer 2023, January
Anonim

Some may mistake this creature for a flat, large-headed, with warts and spines, a predatory spider, others - for an aggressive tick with impressive jaws. But this is not a spider or a tick, but a voracious carnivorous larva of a rather passive insect - an ant lion.

Ant lion larva
Ant lion larva

We do not meet an adult ant lion so rarely, but out of ignorance we usually mistake it for a small flaccid dragonfly, which can hardly transfer its body from trunk to trunk. It is difficult to find an ant lion at the moment when he is hunting. Only occasionally can you be in wait, like this lazy person, bumping into some edible insect, lazily chews it. But the lion's larva eats for two, its temper is indomitable, and its whole appearance suggests that it is a bloodthirsty predator.

Once, in a sunny glade, from a tiny white egg, covered with grains of sand, an ant lion larva will hatch, like two drops of water similar to the one in the photograph, only very small. The larva will move and, crawling in a circle, will start tossing grains of sand with its spade head. Gradually around the "digger" a funnel with rather steeply breaking walls will begin to appear. Finally, he will bury himself at the bottom of his den, exposing only the sickle jaws.

As soon as the soil shakes under the feet of an insect, the lurking hunter attacks: nuclei-grains of sand fly into the crater-hole approaching the edge of the hole. The knocked down prey falls to the bottom, the sickle-jaws of the predator close on its body. The captured prey is pulled into the sand and the insatiable predator again alarms the jaws. So the ant lion larva spends almost all its life.

Adult spotted ant lion (Distoleon tetragrammicus)
Adult spotted ant lion (Distoleon tetragrammicus)

Small beetles and butterflies, caterpillars, and other pests become victims of ant lion larva. True, occasionally six-legged ones manage to safely avoid the trap. This means that the predator is going through a painful period of growing up, rebuilding everything in itself, changing clothes. There is no time for hunting.

When, finally, the predator, pirating and instilling fear in the six-legged inhabitants of the area, eats so much that it reaches a centimeter or a little more in length, at the bottom of its burrow of silk and grains of sand it will weave a round cocoon in which it will freeze for two to three weeks.

There, behind the silky walls, all the mysteries prescribed by nature will be performed, and one day an adult insect will appear from the cocoon instead of the ant lion larva that has gone into captivity. Four reticulated wings, each three to three and a half centimeters long, a rather thin gray-brown two to three centimeters abdomen, an expressionless head, six weak legs - this is its appearance.

Ant lion larvae trap pits
Ant lion larvae trap pits

An adult ant lion is common. And a catchy title is almost a mistake. They knew about the insect even before our era and believed that its larvae hunt only for ants. It is now known that among the victims of this aggressive predator there are many diverse harmful insects.

Based on materials from entomologist E. Georgieva

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