My Digital Photography of
Ant Lions, Family Myrmeleontidae
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Ant Lion Funnels in the Sand, July 22, 2012
Here are some ant lion funnels. I decided not to disturb the ant lions inside since I had so many good macro photographs of an ant lion already.
Ant Lion #1, September 10, 2010
The ant lion is actually the larval form of a damselfly-like creature. I have never seen an adult in real life. I hadn't seen an ant lion in about 20 years until I found this one while photographing the Largest Maple Tree in Hines Park on October 9, 2010. I noticed some of their little depressions in the sandy soil around the tree and have only seen those funnels when I used to vacation up north on Lake Huron in Ossineke, MI. I couldn't believe my eyes when I scooped up an ant lion at the bottom of one of the depressions! I had no idea they could even thrive in this area. I don't know if someone dumped them there from their own vacation up north or if they really are naturally-occurring. In any case, it was so neat to find one and have the chance to see what it looked like in the macro photos. I couldn't believe all those bristles---I didn't know those were there. Another interesting thing is that one might think that they would feel hard, like an arthropod or something, but they were surprisingly very soft and delicate-feeling. This one is a pretty standard size, from what I remember about the ones I found in the past. It was 7/16" from the tip of its pincers to its tail end. I read that their life cycle can be 2-3 years depending on food availability. I hope to raise this one to adulthood.
April 30, 2011
The ant lion was not that active during the wintertime and hardly ate at all. Finally, in April, it started making its funnels again and I was able to feed it fruit flies. one day, I didn't see any more, but I saw some strange trails running all over the place. I sifted through the sand and found nothing but a strange ball that at first appeared to be made only of sand, but it was too light weight and I realized that it was also composed of silk holding the ball together. I figured this must be the ant lion's cocoon. On April 30, 2011, I noticed that the ant lion adult had emerged from the cocoon, but it's wings were still curled up. I thought that the wings would unroll with time, as they did with the emerging cicada that I photographed before. However, they never did fully unroll and the ant lion was not able to fly. It stayed on the plant that I put it on for three days until it finally died. I gave it water every day and try to make it as comfortable as possible. I'm guessing maybe I should have been spraying the cocoon with water because perhaps there was not enough fluid to pump through the veins in its wings to unroll them.
May 1, 2011
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