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  • Antlion - (Glenurus spp)

    Antlion - (Glenurus spp)

    Elegant adult Antlions may be delightful to watch, but their quirky little larvae offer far more interesting behaviors to observe.

    Staff Writer (8/23/2017): Antlions get their name thanks to the diet of their larvae. A small Antlion larva is also known an a 'doodlebug'. Doodlebugs are ground dwellers and have a huge set of intimidating jaws. These small larvae look like beetles, but they can only walk backwards! In their wake, they leave a curvy trail of loose soil or sand that resembles random doodles. These trails can lead a bug finder all the way back to their pits of doom.

    Doodlebugs dig cone-shaped holes into the soft soil or sand and lay in the bottom. When an ant at the surface gets too near the edge, it slips into the hole and slides down to the waiting jaws of the Antlion larva. The Antlion larva will grab the ant and use part of its mouth parts to inject an enzyme that allows the internal body parts to be easily sucked out of the ant. Its appetite for ants and the manner in which it hunts them led to the insect's name.

    Once the larvae mature, an adult Antlion more closely resembles a damselfly or dragonfly than its larval Doodlebug form. Adult Antlions, in contrast to dragonflies, have short antennae, are weak fliers and are nocturnal. They may eat nectar and pollen. Adults can be found at night in tall grasses in open habitats. Their larvae can be found in open fields of sandy soil, at the base of trees, on the dusty floors of barns or sheds or under rock ledges. Both life stages are most active in spring and summer.

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    Details of the:

    Category: Antlion or Lacewing
    Common name: Antlion
    Scientific Name: Glenurus spp
    Other Names: Doodlebugs

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Neuroptera
          Family: Myrmeleontidae
           Genus: Glenurus
            Species: spp

    Size (Adult, Length): 20mm to 40mm (0.79in to 1.57in)

    Identifying Colors: black, white, gray, brown

    Additional Descriptors: pointy, speckled, tail, long, shiny, flying, dragonfly-like

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; British Columbia

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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