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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Creature Feature: Antlion.



JESUS CHRIST IT'S AN ANTLION! GET IN THE CAR!

Wait a sec. Trapinch is an antlion? What the hell's an antlion, anyways? Some of us probably thought that it was some sort of dragonfly (darn Nintendo), but the real bug is far more awesome than any dragon. It's also a lot uglier than Trapinch:



The term "antlion" can refer to any member of the family Myrmeleontidae. The bug above does not look a thing like a lion, even if the jaws do look pretty damn vicious. It does however, eat ants...in a sinister fashion that probably makes most exterminators jealous:



Antlions make remarkably precise little sand traps to catch their prey. After making a circle, they begin to crawl backwards, digging a funnel into the sand. The trap is designed such that the angle of the sand is at a steepness called "the angle of repose" - that is, the steepest angle that the sand can maintain without having the pit collapse in on itself. All it takes is a gentle touch to make the trap do just that. Then, the ant is just a snap away from being dinner. Presto, instant meal brought to you by the wonders of physics!


For some reason, they also make bigger pits when the moon is full...which makes one wonder if antwolf would have perhaps been a more appropriate title.

The antlion is technically only the larval form of the insect. After it has dug a million sand pits and eaten a load of ants, it goes into a pupal stage. (No idea why Nintendo skipped that.) One month later, it emerges as an adult that looks quite a lot like a dragonfly or damselfly, but is not. Adult antlions are not as strong of fliers as dragonflies or damselflies, and can deliver a painful bite if touched on their drunken hunt for a mate.


This guy seems to be fine.

This makes one wonder about Flygon, though...a horny bug that can breathe fire. WE'RE SCREWED!

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