I would also like to Thank Ben Waggoner Who help me as well by leading me to Kane Slater who as he put it an outstanding photographer and knows a lot about bugs.Thanks to these guys we now know what this UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) is!
This was taken in my backyard in Odessa, Texas with a Panasonic FZ 50
FEATURES and CHALLENGE WINS and TOP 10 PLACES
1. This was Featured in …The World As We See It Or As We Missed it Group ! 02/23/2011
2. This was Featured in…The Group, Group! 07/01/2011
This one is in color which was enhance a bit in Corel.
Antlions are a group of insects in the family Myrmeleontidae (sometimes misspelled as “Myrmeleonidae”). The most well-known genus is Myrmeleo. There are about 2,000 species. Strictly speaking, the term “antlion” applies to the larval form of the members of this family, but while several languages have their own terms for the adult, there is no widely used word for them in English. Very rarely, the adults are called “antlion lacewings”.
The antlion larva is often called “doodlebug” in North America because of the odd winding, spiralling trails it leaves in the sand while looking for a good location to build its trap, as these trails look like someone has doodled in the sand.1
Antlions are worldwide in distribution, most common in arid and sandy habitats. A few species occur in cold-temperate places; a famous example is the European Euroleon nostras, whose scientific name means “our European [ant]lion”. They can be fairly small to very large Neuroptera (wingspan range of 2–15 cm). The antlion larvae eat small arthropods – mainly ants -, while the adults of some species eat small pollen and nectar, while others are predators of small arthropods in the adult stage too2. In certain species of Myrmeleontidae, such as Dendroleon pantheormis, the larva, although resembling that of Myrmeleon structurally, makes no pitfall, but seizes passing prey from any nook or crevice in which it shelters.
The adult has two pairs of long, narrow, multi-veined wings in which the apical veins enclose regular oblong spaces, and a long, slender abdomen. Although they greatly resemble dragonflies or damselflies, they belong to an entirely different infraclass among the winged insects. Antlions are easily distinguished from damselflies by their prominent, apically clubbed antennae which are about as long as head and thorax combined. Also, the pattern of wing venation differs, with the very long hypostigmatic cell (behind the fusion point of Sc and R1) being several times as long as wide. They also are very feeble fliers and are normally found fluttering about in the night, in search of a mate. The adult is thus rarely seen in the wild because it is typically active only in the evening. They are highly active in desert regions and are a nuisance. They will deliver a small, mildly painful bite if given the chance to land on someone.
The life cycle of the antlion begins with oviposition (egg-laying). The female antlion repeatedly taps the sand surface with the tip of her abdomen. She then inserts her abdomen into the sand and lays an egg. The antlion larva is a ferocious-appearing creature with a robust, fusiform body, a very plump abdomen, the thorax bearing three pairs of walking legs. The prothorax forms a slender mobile “neck” for the large, square, flattened head, which bears an enormous pair of sicklelike jaws with several sharp, hollow projections. The jaws are formed by the maxillae and mandibles, which in each pincer enclose a canal for injecting venom between them. Depending on species and where it lives, the larvae will either hide under leaves or pieces of wood, in cracks of rocks, or dig pits in sandy areas. Antlion larvae are unusual among the insects as they lack an anus. All the metabolic waste that is generated during the larval stage is stored and is eventually emitted as meconium near the end of its pupal stage.3
The pupal stage of the antlion is quiescent. The larva makes a globular cocoon of sand stuck together with fine silk spun from a slender spinneret at the posterior end of the body. These cocoons may be buried several centimeters deep in the sand. It remains there for one month, until the completion of the transformation into the sexually mature insect, which then emerges from the case, leaving the pupal integument behind, and climbs to the surface. After about 20 minutes the adult’s wings are fully opened and it will fly off in search of a mate. The adult is considerably larger than the larva; they exhibit the greatest disparity in size between larva and adult of any type of holometabolous insects, by virtue of the adults having an extremely thin, flimsy exoskeleton – in other words, they have extremely low mass per unit of volume.
average-sized larva digs a pit about 2 inches deep and 3 inches wide at the edge. This behavior has also been observed in a family of flies, the Vermileonidae, whose larvae dig the same sort of pit to feed on ants. Having marked out the chosen site by a circular groove, the antlion larva starts to crawl backwards, using its abdomen as a plough to shovel up the soil. By the aid of one front leg it places consecutive heaps of loosened particles upon its head, then with a smart jerk throws each little pile clear of the scene of operations. Proceeding thus it gradually works its way from the circumference towards the center. As it slowly moves round and round, the pit gradually gets deeper and deeper, until the slope angle reaches the angle of repose (that is, the steepest angle the sand can maintain, where it is on the verge of collapse from slight disturbance). When the pit is completed, the larva settles down at the bottom, buried in the soil with only the jaws projecting above the surface, often in a wide-opened position on either side of the very tip of the cone.
Since the sides of the pit consist of loose sand at its angle of repose10, they afford an insecure foothold to any small insects that inadvertently venture over the edge, such as ants. Slipping to the bottom, the prey is immediately seized by the lurking antlion; or if it attempts to scramble again up the treacherous walls of the pit, it is speedily checked in its efforts and brought down by showers of loose sand which are thrown at it from below by the larva. By throwing up loose sand from the bottom of the pit, the larva also undermines the sides of the pit, causing them to collapse and bring the prey with them. Thus it does not matter whether the larva actually strikes the prey with the sand showers.
Antlion larvae are capable of capturing and killing a variety of insects and other arthropods, and can even subdue small spiders. The projections in the jaws of the larva are hollow and through this the larva will suck the fluids out of its victim. After the contents are consumed, the dry carcass is flicked out of the pit. The larva readies the pit once again by throwing out collapsed material from the center, steepening the pit walls to the angle of repose.
Antlions are especially abundant in soft sand beneath trees or under overhanging rocks. Apparently the larvae prefer dry places that are protected from the rain. Eventually the larva attains its maximum size and undergoes metamorphosis. The entire length of time from egg-laying to adulthood may take two or three years due to the uncertainty and irregular nature of its food supply. When it first hatches, the tiny larva specializes in very small insects, but as it grows larger, it constructs larger pits and thus catches larger prey.
Information Found on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia