Beware the Antlion

I noticed several of these cone indentations in the yard and decided to take a closer look.

Do you see anything?

What about if we get even closer?

Do you see anything yet?
No?
That’s part of the hungry antlion’s plan .

When an unlucky critter falls into the pit, the antlion will quickly snatch it and inject venom. If the prey manages to escape, the antlion will use its head to fling dirt in an attempt to knock the bug back down the steep walls. Here, it has caught a small insect (white). You can see the tips of the antlion’s fangs – the rest of its body remains buried as it eats.

It’s like the Star Wars sarlacc pit, but fortunately on a much smaller scale.

This is the larval stage of an antlion. After it pupates, it will emerge as a winged vegetarian.

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