The Antlion (Myrmeleon sp.) is an insect. It resembles a dragonfly, but it is not related to the dragonfly or damselfly.
The Antlion has 4 stages: egg, larvae (often called a doodlebug, because it leaves squiggles in the sand), cocoon, and adult. The adult Antlion has two pairs of long, translucent wings and a long, slender abdomen. It has an exoskeleton on the outside of its body, which is thin and delicate. It has clubbed antennae.
The adult Antlion has a wingspan of 2-15 centimetres (1-6 inches).
The Antlion is common worldwide, but mostly in the tropical areas. It prefers river banks.
The adult Antlion is nocturnal, flying at night.
The female Antlion lays eggs under leaves or pieces of wood. The eggs hatch and become larvae. The larvae feed on ants, pollen, and nectar. The larvae pupate and undergo metamorphosis. The larva becomes a cocoon, which may be buried several centimetres deep the sand. After completing its transformation into an adult insect, taking about one month, it emerges from the cocoon, and makes its way to the surface. After about twenty minutes, the adult’s wings are fully opened and it flies off in search of a mate.
The adult Antlion lives for about 25 days.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM