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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

HABITAT PREFERENCES OF THE ANTLION (FAMILY MYRMELEONTIDAE) AND ITS IMPACT ON PIT CONSTRUCTION**

Abstract

Antlions are common insects that belong to the order Neuroptera and are distributed throughout the world in arid habitats. These sandy habitats are ideal, as they are teeming with ants, the antlion’s main source of food. Ninety-five percent of their lives are spent in the larval stage as ambush predators. During this stage, they construct pits in the sand to capture their prey. The goal of this experiment is to determine antlion habitat preference, focusing on soil type, temperature, and moisture level. In the first experiment, 40 common pit-making antlions, Myrmeleon immaculatus, were placed into indiidual chambers that contained five habitats (fine sand, course sand, sand with small pebbles, sand with 25% clay, and sant with 50% clay). In the second experiment, antlions were placed into chambers that contained five sand habitats, each at different temperatures (15°C, 20°C, 25°C, 30°C , and 35°C). In the third experiment, antlions were placed into chambers that contained five sand habitats with different moisture levels added (0%-20%). Based on preliminary results, antlions exhibited a very strong preference for dry, fine-sand, warm envrionments. These environments are optimal for pit construction sites and may explain why antlions are frawn to, and rarely migrate from, these specific habitats.

Acknowledgements

GGC Dept. of Biology

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