Antlion Meaning

The exact meaning of the word “antlion”  (French fourmilion) is uncertain yet. However, we consider antlion as ants shaping a large percentage of the prey of the insect, where the suffix "lion" merely relates to the destroyer or hunter.


Also, we refer antlion to as a group of 2,000 species of insects in the family of Myrmeleontidae. These species (order Neuroptera) are known for the sharp predatory activities of their larvae, which in many species dig pits to prison passing ants or other prey.


Insects are the most diverse species and they have many varieties, which this page will explain. On this page, we will understand ant lion, antlion life cycle, antlion food, and antlion holes in detail. Besides this, we will have a look at various species of insects. 


Antlion Etymology

From the above text, we understand that the actual meaning of the name "antlion" is not known hitherto.


We assume them forming a large portion of the prey of the insect. Going back to history, the term “antlion” was referred to as classical antiquity. 


Frequently, antlion hatchling is known as a "doodlebug" in North America as a result of the odd winding, the spiralling path it leaves in the sand while moving, which look as though somebody has been doodling.


Myrmeleontidae Etymology

The logical name of the sort variety Myrmeleo – and in this manner, the family overall – is gotten from Antiquated Greek léon (λέων) "lion" + mýrmex (μύρμηξ) "subterranean insect", in a credit interpretation of the names regular across Europe. 


In general, European and Center Eastern dialects, in any event, the larvae are known under the nearby term relating to "antlion."


Now, let’s have a look at the antlion definition:


Antlion Definition

The antlion is a variety of various insects belonging to the family of Myrmeleontidae. These insects have large-jawed larvae that plough a conical crater in the sand to cage ants and other insects for food.


What is Antlion?

The antlion larva burrows a channel formed pit around 2.5 to 5 cm or 1 to 2 inches down and 2.5 to 7.5 cm [1 to 3 inches] wide at the edge) by utilizing its oval, sandy-dark mid-region as a furrow and piling the released particles on its enormous square head, and tossing them clear of the pit. 


At the point when the pit is finished, the hatchling covers itself with the goal that solitary its jaws project. Any little bug that adventures over the edge of the sandy pit slips to the base and is seized by the sickle-like jaws of the antlion. Subsequent to sucking the substance of its casualty, the antlion tosses the vacant skin out of the pit. The larva of specific species (e.g., the spotted-winged antlion, Dendroleon obsoletus) don't make a pit; however, hold onto passing prey from a concealing spot.


After a time of taking care of and developing the larva readies a cover of sand and turned silk in which it will change into an explicitly experienced adult. The adult antlion is a powerless flier and has moderately short, clubbed receiving wires and four thin, fragile, thick net-veined wings that might be set apart with earthy coloured or dark. Since the adult doesn't take care of, the hatchling should devour adequate food to support the adult.

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Ant Lion

Myrmeleontidae is well-known for the furiously ruthless propensities for their larva. They are numerous species burrow pits to trap passing insects or other prey. The adult bugs are less notable, because of their moderately short life expectancies contrasted with the larva. 


These adults generally fly at nightfall or into the evening, and might be erroneously recognized as dragonflies or damselflies; they are some of the time known as antlion lacewings. In North America, the hatchlings/larva are now and then alluded to as doodlebugs as a result of the odd imprints they leave in the sand.

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Antlion Larvae

Antlions can be tiny to enormous neuropterans, with wingspans going from 2 to 15 cm (0.8 to 5.9 in). The African family Palpares contains probably the biggest models. Acanthaclisis Occitania is the biggest European species, with an 11 cm (4.3 in) wingspan, and most North American species approach this size. 

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The adult has two sets of long, limited, multi-winged, clear wings and a long, thin midsection. Despite the fact that they to some degree look like dragonflies or damselflies, they have a place with an alternate infraclass of winged creepy crawlies. Antlion adults are effectively recognized from damselflies by their noticeable, apically clubbed receiving wires which are probably as long as the head and chest joined. 


Likewise, the example of wing venation varies and contrasted with damselflies, the adults are extremely weak fliers and are typically discovered vacillating about around evening time looking for a mate. adult antlions are commonly nighttime, and once in a while seen by day. 


Adult Antlions

Male of most species have an exceptional construction, a fiber bearing handle known as a "pilula axillaris", at the foundation of the back wing. The midsection in males is generally more than in females and frequently has an additional flap. The tip of the midsection of females shows a more prominent variety than that of males, contingent maybe upon oviposition locales, and for the most part, bears tufts of fibers for burrowing and a finger-like expansion. 


The antlion larva has a vigorous fusiform body, a really stout midsection, and a chest bearing three sets of strolling legs. The prothorax frames a slim versatile "neck" for the huge, square, smoothed head, which bears a tremendous pair of sickle-like jaws with a few sharp, empty projections. The jaws are framed by the maxillae and mandibles; the mandibles each contain a profound section over which the maxilla fits conveniently, shaping an encased channel for infusing toxin to immobilize the person in question, and catalysts to process its delicate parts. 


The larva is clad in forward-pointing bristles which assist it with securing itself and apply a more noteworthy foothold, empowering it to stifle prey impressively bigger than itself. 


Antlion hatchlings are uncommon among bugs without a rear-end. All the metabolic waste produced during the larval stage is put away; some are utilized to turn the silk for the casing and the rest is in the end voided as meconium toward the finish of its pupal stage


Life Cycle of an Antlion

In this section, we will understand what are the steps in an antlion life cycle, following this, we will understand the same in detail in the “Antlion Life Cycle,” section.


Steps of the Antlion Life Cycle:

Step 1 - Larval antlions dig steep conical pits in fine soil. Insects that trap into this pit slide downside to the waiting jaws and paralyzing the venom of the antlion.

Step 2 -  Large hollow jaws inject venom. Flathead is used as a shovel. Fine hairs on the body tightly hold the insect on the sand.

Step 3 - Traveling insects make “doodles” in the fine soil. Also, the steep sides are at the critical angle of repose (the angle of repose is the steepest angle at which a sloping surface is formed of a stable loose material).

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Step 4 - Now, an ant stumbles in the trap. 

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Ant lion flings sand over this trapped ant; therefore, causing an avalanche of debris and undermining the slope. 

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Step 5 - The slope gives in a way in the landslide. The ant falls at the bottom. 

These are the above 5 steps of the ant lion life cycle. Now, we will understand the same in detail.


Antlion Life Cycle

Aside from pit-trap-shaping taxa, the science of individuals from the family Myrmeleontidae, to which the antlions have a place, has been minimally considered. The existence cycle starts with oviposition (egg-laying) in a reasonable area. The female antlion more than once taps the imminent laying site with the tip of her midsection and afterwards embeds her ovipositor into the substrate and lays an egg. 

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Contingent upon the species and where it resides, the hatchling either hides under leaves, garbage, or bits of wood covers up in a break or dives a channel formed pit in free material. As snare hunters, getting prey is unsafe in light of the fact that food shows up erratically and, for those species that make traps, keeping one is expensive. 


The hatchlings, in this way, have low metabolic rates and can get by for significant stretches without food. They can require quite a long while to finish their life-cycle; they develop quicker with abundant food however can make due for a long time without taking care of. In cooler environments, they burrow their direction more profound and stay inert throughout the colder time of year.


Antlion Holes

Antlion Food

Antlions are a group of bugs in the request Neuroptera, named Myrmeleontidae, from the Greek "myrmex", signifying "subterranean insect", and "leon", signifying "lion". 

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Rigorously, talking about the term “antlion,” it applies to the larval type of the individuals from this family. Antlions are worldwide in dispersion, generally normal in parched and sandy territories, and can be tiny to extremely huge (wingspan scope of 2-15 cm). Antlions are omnivorous. The antlion hatchlings eat insects and different creepy crawlies, while the grown-up antlion eats dust and nectar.


Further, the primary food eaten by the Antlions larvae is the small arthropods. However, the small pollen and nectar are the main food for adult antlions. While, other Antlions prefer to eat the small arthropods.


How Do Antlions Eat Food?

Antlions need to liquify its meal, and it does this with those bent mandibles. The antlion snatches and cuts its prey with the snares, infusing it with stomach related catalysts that disintegrate its delicate tissues, and afterwards sucks the nutritious goo back out.


The antlion larvae regularly feed on subterranean insects. They don't have mouths, so they depend on discharging compounds/toxin into their prey, liquifying their organs into a soup to be guzzled up. Their taking care of conduct is like insects. 


How Long Antlions Live?

Antlions have strange life cycles, and we would not joke about this! There's almost no consistency. They go through 1 to 3 years of their life expectancy as doodlebugs, prior to covering underground for about a month. When they rise out of their covers as antlions, they're known to make due for around 25 to 45 days.


Additionally, antlion adults are somewhat sensitive, delicate gazing creepy crawlies upward to 2 inches in length that resemble damselflies. The grown-ups are rarely seen on the grounds that they are dynamic around evening time. They have a moderately short life expectancy of roughly one month. Doodlebugs are not hurtful at all.


Fun Facts

  • In certain pieces of the world, antlions are utilized as a fishing trap. 

  • As indicated by mainstream local fables, on the off chance that you recount a sonnet, serenade, or start a discussion, the antlion can be baited out of its opening. 

  • Antlions are stars on screen! You can spot antlions, or characters propelled by them, in SimAnt, Last Dream, Terraria, Mother 3, Beast Farmer 2, and Half-Life.

  • The anecdotal Sarlacc from Star Wars is viewed as dependent on the antlion. Antlions likewise motivate the development of Pokemon Trapinch, Vibrava, and Flygon.

Points to Remember

  • Antlions are innocuous and cause no harm to blossoms, individuals or designs. They are exceptionally helpful and feed on subterranean insects and different creepy crawlies that fall into their snares. It is ideal to let them be. 

  • Taking care of the antlion once each day is above all. They may take care of a few times inside a day, but at the same time are equipped for going for possibly more than seven days without food. Water: Insect lions required next to no water - they get a large portion of it from their food. Fog splash daintily around your antlion's pit once at regular intervals.

  • The little larvae look like bugs, yet they can just walk in reverse. When a hatchling develops, a grown-up Antlion more intently takes after a damselfly or dragonfly than its larval Doodlebug structure. Grown-up Antlions, as opposed to dragonflies, have short receiving wires, are powerless fliers, and are nighttime.

Now, let’s have a look at some FAQs on Antlion:

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1: List the Variety of Antlions Found in North America.

Ans: Antlions have worldwide dissemination. The best reach occurs inside the jungles, anyway, only a couple of animal groups are available in chilly calm zones, one such being the European Euroleon nostras. 

They generally occur in dry and sandy natural surroundings the spot the hatchlings can essentially uncover their pits, in any case, some hatchlings mask underneath particles or snare their prey among leaf litter.

In North America, the larvae are commonly known as doodlebugs because of the strange imprints they leave from inside the sand. 

They are accessible in various assortments, a couple of that are discrete standings. 

Five have been exhibited up to now: 

  • The Antlion Officer, which is likely the most by and large found. 

  • The Antlion Grubs, the hatchlings. 

  • The Antlion Specialist, which works in homes and secures the Antlion Grub. 

  • The Antlion Gatekeeper, a taller Antlion 

  • The Antlion Gatekeeper, which rules the homes.

Q2: List the Places Where the Maximum Distribution of Antlions is Found.

Ans: Antlions are particularly plentiful in delicate sand underneath trees or under overhanging rocks. Clearly, the hatchlings lean toward dry places that are shielded from the downpour. In the end, the larva accomplishes its most extreme size and goes through a transformation. 


The whole timeframe from egg-laying to adulthood may require a few years because of the vulnerability and unpredictable nature of its food supply. At the point when it first brings forth, the little hatchling represents considerable authority in tiny bugs, however as it develops bigger, it builds bigger pits and subsequently gets bigger prey. 


Despite the fact that antlion hatchlings have a brutal appearance, they are totally innocuous to people. Indeed, there are individuals who keep them as pets. 


In specific types of Myrmeleontidae, for example, Dendroleon pantheormis, the hatchling, in spite of the fact that looking like that of Myrmeleon basically, makes no entanglement, yet holds onto passing prey from an alcove or fissure in which it covers.

Q3: Explain the Pitfall Construction by Antlions.

Ans: Having set apart out the picked site by a roundabout section, it begins to slither in reverse, utilizing its midsection as a furrow to scoop up the dirt. 


By the guide of one front leg, it puts continuous loads of slackened particles upon its head, at that point with a shrewd jerk tosses every little heap clear of the location of tasks. 


Continuing subsequently it works its way from the periphery towards the middle. As it gradually moves all around, the pit continuously gets further and more profound. At the point when the pit is finished, the hatchling settles down at the base, covered in the dirt with just the jaws projecting over the surface, regularly in a wide-opened situation on one or the other side of the actual tip of the cone.