the remains of the summer...
By audave2505, Nov 27 2020 08:00AM
I found this rather sad long-dead insect whilst opening up the interior mosquito blinds for access to paint the window frames. The blinds were down most of the summer but somehow this beast must have become trapped between the window and the blind.
It's wingspan was nearly three inches. Its body had perished but when living it is long and thin and about the length of the wings. This is an ant-lion (probably Euroleon nostras one of the most widespread species in Europe with a toe-hold in UK at Minsmere and Holkham on the East Anglian coast). The winged adult looks rather like a large speckled-winged damselfly but with clubbed antennae.
It is the larvae which give the "ant-lion" name to the group. They live in tiny sand pits which they excavate, afterwards waiting half-buried at the base to finish off, with their impressive jaws; any unsuspecting small insects which falls in. Larval devopment can take up to two years, the grubs excavating bigger pits as they get larger. Whilst laying eggs on the sand surface, the female adult is actually in danger of predation by the grubs! When the larva are fully developed they pupate in the soil, to emerge as the winged adult a month or so later. Adults are nocturnal so are rarely seen except when they fly into houses on warm summer nights...to be found on an interior wall the next morning.
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