So, you're going to face it? This is an antlionâ€™s larvae. Despite of its name, it is not an ant neither a lion. It is, actually, an insect which belongs to the order Neuroptera, a far relative of beetles. The antlions have four distinct life cycle stages: egg, larvae, pupe and adult. The animal of the photo is a larvae of Myrmeleontidae family, who buries itself on the botton of a conical funnel made in the sand. This funnel is a trap to ants and other little unsuspected insects, which fall in the hole and are immediately perceived and caught by the patient predator. The antlions have huge jaws to capture their preys, and are formidable furtive hunters. The next time you see little funnels on the sand of your garden, take a look anda maybe you can see an amazing predator in action!
Augusto Gomes is a Brazilian biologist, graduated by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil), and master in Ecology, Conservation and Management of Wildlife by the same institution. Since 2010, he is engaged with research about ecology and conservation of tropical ecosystems, focused on bats and cave environments. During his academic journey, Augusto has also been dedicating to nature photography, as a tool to promote science spreading and nature conservation. Nowadays, the biologist/photographer is member of the Brazilian Joint of Nature Photographers (AFNATURA), and has a web page dedicated to photography, science spreading and environmental awareness: Andira Imagens (www.facebook.com/andiraimagens).