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  • Antlion
  • Beautiful demoiselle, or black-winged damselfly
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546 illustration


Myrmeleon formicarius

Antlions have a wingspan of up to 5 centimetres and a long, slender body, which is brown with tan markings. The antennae are short and clubbed and the wings are transparent with brown, black and white spots. The larvae are oval and sandy-grey, covered with bristles, adapted for burrowing through sandy soil.

The antlion lives in dry and sandy regions throughout Europe.

The antlion gets its name from the fact that, during its larval stage, it is a vicious predator of ants and other insects. The larvae dig small, round holes, preferably in loose sand, with a passageway at the bottom in which they hide to wait for ants or other victims to fall into the trap. The loose sand prevents the prey from escaping.

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