Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title



Antlion larvae in the Family Myrmeleontidae are ambush predators which survive by feeding on ants and other small insects that fall victim to their stealthily constructed, crater-like pits. These pits are commonly found in dry, sandy habitats throughout the world. In order to determine the factors influencing pit shape and size, laboratory and field experiments were performed. The experiments focused on the correlation between feeding rate and pit diameter as well as antlion larvae size and pit diameter. Current antlion research suggests antlion larvae size and prey abundance are possible causes of pit size. For laboratory studies, we used 60 common, pit-making antlion larvae, Myrmeleon immaculatus. These antlions were given 2 days to make their pits and then pit size measurements were taken over the next 14 days. The antlions were separated into 3 different groups with average antlion size the same for all groups. Each antlion group followed one of three feeding schedules, 4 ants per day, 1 ant per day, or 1 ant every 2 days. Laboratory studies concluded a positive correlation (r=0.61) between antlion larvae length and pit size. However, preliminary data does not reflect a significant relationship between prey abundance and pit size. Preliminary results from field experiments of antlions in the genus Myrmeleon supported the data collected from laboratory studies; antlion length seemed to be a better indicator of pit size than antlion larvae weight or width. Additional research to determine the relationship between antlion mandibles (related to antlion length) and pit size is needed.


GGC Dept. of Biology

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