Wondering about wild grapes

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wondering about Ant Lions.

Here is a picture I took yesterday beside the steps to my deck:

No this picture is not the surface of the moon. These craters are made by the larva of an insect. The larvae are known as Ant Lions and they dig funnel shaped holes to trap ants. The ants can’t get out of the hole and just slide back in when they try. The Ant Lion buries itself in the bottom of the hole with its large jaws just beneath or outside the bottom of the hole to grab on to any hapless ant that ventures into the trap. Sounds like a science fiction movie and would be if they were a lot bigger and we were the hapless victims.

Here is an areal view of the same area:

I walked over to where the motor-home was parked and found some more in different colored sand:

That one had a dead piece of grass hanging down in it. The grass would give the ant an escape route. I bet that ant lion has no idea why he isn’t getting any ants. But the more I look at it, there seems to me, that this ant lion has extended the bottom of the cone into a basement where it would have the chance to clamp on to an ant.

This last picture is another trap next to the one above. This is the first place I lived where there were ant lions. In fact, at first I didn’t know what made the cone shaped holes, but the real estate lady who sold us the property explained what they were. Anything that feeds on ants is OK in my book.

If you want some information on these critters, you can go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antlion

Also, for a lot of pictures of ant lions and their traps, take a look HERE.

You all have a good day now and hope you enjoyed the holiday.


  1. Yea, I know those things from growing up on the farm. There was an area near where the car was parked that had a red ant bed and in what soft sand/dirt there was those things had a colony. We boys would put an ant in one and watch to see if it could escape, not many die. Daddy called them Doodle bugs but Mother called them Ant Lions.

    Out side here in the car port are a bunch of them in the soft weather protected dirt.

  2. Do they eat fire ants? Last winter I learned that fire ants and sandals don't mix. Ouch!

  3. Hi Dizzy-Dick, appreciate you comin' by my blog yesterday. Only read about 10 posts so far, but I can see I'll be spendin' some time on yours. This place is a fountain of knowledge. You could call it Dizzypedia if you ask me.

  4. U meand doodle bugs? lol,,And i didn't know until i got an insect book for the kids, that they turned into dragon flies. Also, grub worms turn into June bugs. We played with the doodle bugs as kids, and i showed mine how to catch them. I liked to see how small a one i could catch.

  5. Yep my grandparents always called them doodle bugs to. I also used to take small sticks and stir the bottom of the holes to watch them come out. I didn't know they turned in the dragon flies though. In that case I wouldn't harm them because dragon flies eat mosquitoes and don't harm humans (although some humans couldn't be convinced of that.)

  6. See there....don't matter how old ya get, you can still learn something new. And Dizzypedia is the place to learn it.

    Have ya ever have a dragon fly land on ya when ya least expect it? Scare the peewaddle out ya I mean to tell ya.

  7. Ben, yes I have heard them called both Doodle Bugs and Ant Lions and not many of ants escape their trap.

    Sixbears, around here, if they didn’t eat fire ants, they would starve. I will have to test that some day.

    HoboJoe, Thanks, and I will be reading yours, also.

    Trouble, they are a unique and unusual insect. Horror fiction writers couldn’t come up with anything more scary, if you were an ant, that is.

    David, actually, they don’t turn into dragonflies, but the adults do look similar to dragonflies.

    Billy Bob, I figure a day without learning something new is a wasted day.

  8. Did you notice the critter tracks in the first two pictures? I love seeing those. Being a city girl and all.

  9. Sitting here trying to remember the poem that goes with the doodle bugs! I know we used to say one as kids, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was!

    Thanks for giving me something to think about all night, buddy!

  10. how illegal do you think it is to send ant lions through the mail? I could use so come next spring

  11. Michael, thanks for stopping by and finding my post interesting.

    Sel, yes I noticed them. Probably the same critters that have attacked my garbage cans at night. I now have my garbage cans tied up to a fence with so many ropes they are starting to look like mummies. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    HJ, when you remember it, post it so we all chant along with you.

    Jill, I don’t know about the legality of mailing them. I never saw any of them until I moved on this property. They have to have sandy, loose soil to build their traps.