In Quest of the Ant Lion aka Doodlebug
Aqualand inside info on Myrmeleo species
Misc Frogs II
Misc Frogs III
Misc Frogs IV
Misc Frogs V
Pet World Visit
Prologue: I've tried to capture these critters for years. I'd seen their signs (pits, not real estate signs) in my own front yard over long periods of time. (The east side of my front yard under an overhanging roof.) And, over time, I've tried to dig some out using a tablespoon with zero success. Then I'd level out the area so I could investigate new pits. I even invested a dollar in a set of strainers from the Dollar Tree. Then I stumbled across a much better tool at Aqualand. I'll keep you in suspense until later.
First Attempts: I'd carefully dig out each pit with a tablespoon and scrabble thru the dusty debris. Sometimes before work, sometimes after work -- depending upon how many pits I observed. No luck. Obviously ant lions were there. I just couldn't find them.
Multi-Pits: I'd see beau coup pits -- big pits, little pits, and lots of in between pits. Still none had an ant lion in them that I could detect. Well, I found a few acorns and some dried up caterpillar larvae of some sort. And the pits would magically re-appear except when there was a rain blowing from the east that un-dusted the dusty soil. The soil dried quickly and the mysterious pits re-appeared.
The Doodlebug Name: Then I saw it -- the track of the doodlebug. Their tracks look like someone was doodling in the sand. Thus the name. By this time I had my new secret weapon which will now be revealed.
My New Secret Weapon: I found three of these strainers in our hermit crab area. Each had been used then carefully squirreled up above the tarantulas -- out of sight, out of mind. These are so much better than the no-handled strainers I found at the Dollar Tree. We use the drain strainers to keep our bettas from going down the drain when we're maybe going a little faster than necessary. I do have to admit that Kellie and Sam are both about twice as fast as I am in cleaning the betta jars and changing their water. Anyway, this baby cuts a wide swath thru the dust. It works better and faster. Forget the tablespoon tool. Put it back in your silverware drawer. I don't know why we call them silverware. Force of habit. Anyway, this weapon is made by ZooMed.
Sifting Process: You have to shake the strainer a bit for the dust to fall out, but ... It works so much faster than a tablespoon (which didn't work at all). Best of all, it also sorts out the larger chunks which results in a more ant lion friendly environment over the long haul. Our new playing field was primo ant lion territory. Another plus: The little lions grab hold of the mesh and cling on when you dump the clumps.
Do Ant Lions Bite: I have no idea whether ant lions "bite" or not. However. I'm not willing to field test that question on a critter that sports blood sucking tongs -- especially because ant lions reputedly inject their lunch with toxins.
Ant Lions in Captivity: In these little plastic cups, all the ant lion larvae constantly back up and occasionally flip their tongs backwards. That's the way they excavate their circular pits in my front yard. Since I have no ants in my yard this year, I will see how these little dudes react to small crickets. Even tho they are "small crickets," crickets can be vicious little beasts themselves.
I Leveled the Playing Field: I carefully sifted the entire site to make it ant lion friendly again. Also to make it more apparent if new lions wandered by.
Even Better Success: I quickly scoped out the situation and scooped out the new visiting ant lions. I harvested four in about five minutes. Since I had a limited number of containers, I put three together to find out if they eat or kill each other. Seems they don't mix well. Shortly after lunch I had two of the three left. All the others are now in separate containers.
Ant Lions Pupate: The first one of these I ran across, I dumped in the rubble pile. Then it struck me that these symmetrical balls could be pupae. The next one I found I tried to take apart to see what was inside. I squished it in the process. The third one (the one above) I kept. Ant lions pupate then emerge as insect-eating and fairly attractive "lacewings." You may see them sampling the winged buffet that surrounds your porch light at night. They look a lot like mayflies.
New Food Accepted? Out of the eight lions, five had dead crickets in their cups the next morning. I did not see any of the lions grab a cricket or vice versa. Any snacking occurred over night. So my jury is still out. In the meantime, I'll patiently wait to observe whatever emerges from the pupae I collected. I may collect a few more lions, but the current rainfall (with hail) seems to have muddied the playing field.
© 2010, © 2011,
© 2012, © 2013, © 2014
3600 Sixth Avenue
Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues
Des Moines, IA 50313
Betta Breed 1
Betta Breed II
Betta Pla Kat
Pleco Costly I
Pleco Costly II
Pleco Costly III
Pleco Costly IV
Pleco Costly V
Pleco Costly VI
Misc Catfish II
Misc Catfish III
Misc Catfish IV
Misc Catfish V
Jack Dempsey Spawn
Jaguar Spawning II
Rainbowfish, Dwarf Neon