Monday, March 17, 2008

The moonwalking insect..

This is one of the most fascinating insects in the world which could be right below your very feet and you may never have seen them! Its the antlion (known a little less politely as 'doodlebugs' by the Americans and "ari-jigoku" or "ant hell" by the Japs).
Here in this video taken by me in Meghalaya, an antlion larvae does its distinctive backward crawl into the sand even if its just a handful.
Antlions belong to the order Neuroptera and the family Myrmeleontidae. The adults are much larger than this puny one in the video. They lie under the ground in their holes with their heads covered completely by sand, waiting for the unsuspecting ant, spider or some other bug to pass by. When it does come along, the unstable sand tunnel collapses and the insect falls straight into the jaws of the waiting Antlion. Its easy to spot their characteristic conical hole openings in the sand.

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