Florida Antlions

2017 May 10

In the last two posts, I mentioned that we found southern Florida in December to be surprisingly lacking in insects. But not completely. And here’s something that was actually extremely common — Antlions. Their conical pits in the ground were all over the place. Pretty much every inland sandy patch on Sanibel Island was covered with these antlion pits (photographed on December 18, 2016), some of which were a couple of inches across.


Looking at the size of the pits, I was expecting the antlions themselves to be monsters.


But, when we dug one up, it turned out to be pretty much the same size as the ones we have back in Michigan. Looks pretty similar, too. They may even be the same species. They are certainly in the same genus, as only the genus Myrmeleon makes those conical pit-traps.



So anyway, here is yet another thing that might be keeping the florida insect population down. Any small insect walking along the ground is going to have to negotiate a positive minefield of antlion pits!

3 Responses
  1. May 10, 2017

    I wonder if the absence of insects is less to do with the fact that it’s Florida, and more to do with the urban setting you might be in. Less native plants (landscaped lawns and fewer trees) could mean less insects.

  2. May 11, 2017

    While being in a landscaped area was probably part of it, there also weren’t many insects in the J. N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge that makes up a good part of the island. Although, on one of their nature trails there was a sign indicating that at certain times of year the mosquitos are pretty bad, so we probably did simply miss the buggy season.

  3. May 13, 2017

    Insect life sucks.

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