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I wasn’t positive that this was their correct name, but that is all I had ever heard them called.  As a child, my father taught me to get down close to their neat cone-shaped trap in the ground, and say doodlebug, doodlebug, doodlebug over and over and see what would happen.  The earth at the bottom of the cone would begin to move and shake.  As I recall, though, I never did get to see one, but I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that they were in there.  Actually, I found one of their traps earlier this Spring, did the doodlebug thing, and it still worked.

Now, who and what is the doodlebug?  Well, it seems it is the larvae (he sure wouldn’t win any beauty contests) of the antlion.  I have seen many of the antlions around porch lights, but never realized they were akin to the humble little doodlebug at the bottom of the cone-shaped trap.  Now, the trap is intended to catch creepy crawlies such as ants and other small insects.

The movement of an ant along the edge of the doodlebug cone alerts the doodlebug into action and he begins to shake the earth at the bottom of the cone to hasten the fall of the ant into his pit.  They have large strong mandibles with which to grab their prey and kill them.  They can spend up to three years as larva before the next stage of life, which is the pupa where they are encased in a silken cocoon.  As larvae, they are definitely fun to play with.




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