THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PREDATOR AND PREY BODY SIZE IN DETERMINING PREDATION SUCCESS IN THE ANTLION **
Antlions are insects in the Order Neuroptera: Family Myrmeleontidae. Antlions spend the great majority (>95%) of their lives as larvae. Antlions are found throughout the world in sandy habitats that contain a wide variety of potential prey items. Antlion larvae are ambush predators that build pits in the sand to capture their prey. Their main food sources are ants and other prey that fall into their pits. Antlions will even eat other antlions that fall in their pit. However, what role does predator size factor into the success of the predator? If a larger antlion falls into the pit of a smaller antlion, will the larger antlion still be the one consumed? The main focus of the project is to determine if larger antlions capture larger prey compared to smaller antlions. Secondarily, do larger antlions have greater success at capturing prey than smaller antlions? Does size really matter? Preliminary results indicate that antlions do show prey preferences. Rejected prey are often thrown out of the pit by the antlion. However, are antlions capable of capturing much larger prey? Controlling the pit appears to provide a significant advantage in consuming larger prey, including other antlions. Once the prey gets in the clutches of the predator’s mandible, its doom is sealed.
Philips*, Dylan; Phillips*, Kaylee; Rivera*, Gwyneth; Schlueter, Mark A.; and Cain, Patrick W.
"THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PREDATOR AND PREY BODY SIZE IN DETERMINING PREDATION SUCCESS IN THE ANTLION **,"
Georgia Journal of Science, Vol. 77, No. 1, Article 107.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.gaacademy.org/gjs/vol77/iss1/107