Answer to the Monday Mystery: Ant Lion

What was that pale, bristly enigma?

Here’s a larger view:

Myrmeleon sp. antlion larva (Orlando, FL)

All 10 points go to biozcw, who promptly guessed the order (Neuroptera) and family (Myrmeleontidae).

These are among the most horrifying predators imaginable, of course. If you’re an ant.

8 thoughts on “Answer to the Monday Mystery: Ant Lion”

  1. Very timely! I tried (but failed) to lure out an antlion for some young relatives over the weekend. This is a great photo to show them what they missed.

  2. James C. Trager

    Rob — I guess we should have known by that dry-looking skin. Oestrid larvae always look a bit wet and shiny.

  3. Is it me, or does that look like the inspiration for the sand dwelling creature that was introduced to Chekov’s brain via his ear, a form of torture, meted out by Khan (in Star Trek movie The Wrath of Khan)? Is it me?

    I realllllly think Hollywood folks are smart to look closely at the invertebrate world for a rich source of ideas. =)

  4. James C. Trager

    I’m with you guys. Just this morning on Facebook, I was inspired to post “Seeing the responses of non-biologists about “aliens, Martians, other-worldly”, etc, to some of my FB friend’s posts of pictures of “wierd” critters, I am reminded of something I noticed long ago:
    Sci-fi/fantasy writers and designers get *all* their good ideas for alien monsters from Earthling native creatures, usually invertebrates. Nothing new under the sun really, just re-working of what’s already here.

    1. Agree

      For that matter, it is the entire history of life on earth and also noted by people thousands of years ago.

      What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

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