Antlion Pit

By William T. Hathaway

Antlion and Pit

This antlion pit, along with several others, was found in dry sandy soil beneath the lower end of a bridge. Dry places protected from rain are suitable sites.

Larval antlions hide in the bottom of the pit. Ants and other small insects may slip on the sandy walls of the pit and fall to the bottom. Instantly the sicklelike jaws of the antlion larva latch on to its prey and pull it beneath the sand. These jaws are like hollow hypordermic needles, injecting a powerful venom which quickly subdues its unfortunate victim. Once sucked dry the body of the victim is tossed out of the pit, and the antlion larva buries itself, awaiting another tiny passerby. Like caterpillars, the antlion does most of its eating in the larval stage.