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Antlions

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Other common names: Doodlebugs, Sand Dragon

Scientific name: Myrmeleontidae

The basics:
Antlions are distributed worldwide and usually make residence in open sandy and arid areas. They dig inverted cone-like pits that are used to trap prey items. Antlions usually stay in larva form for up to 3 years before turning into mature adults.

Appearance / health:
Antlions are the larval stage of the Lacewing Dragonfly, also known as the Antlion Lacewing. Antlions are almost grub like with a large, fat, soft body. The color is usually a patterned gray, brown, and tan. They have very short legs, large pinchers and bristles all over their bodies. Total length is usually 1/2 inch to 1 inch.

Behavior / temperament:
Antlions are harmless to humans but deadly to the prey that fall victim to its pit. They may be small and barely noticeable, but Antlions will make an interesting, one-of-a-kind pet for anyone of any experience level.

Housing:
Any container will usually work for Antlions. A large deep deli cup or small critter container can house 1 Antlion. Multiple Antlions may be housed together but spaced far enough away from each other so they can build and dig their pits.
Temperatures should resemble natural outside temperatures where the Antlions were found. If they were specially ordered and not caught from the wild, either way, the temps should be normal summer time temperatures. Generally anywhere from 75-85F will work. Humidity should be low as they live in sand and if too much moisture is present they will not be able to properly keep their pits.

Diet:
The most common food for Antlions are ants, however when ants aren’t abundant, pin head crickets and fruit flies can be fed. Other small non-pesticide insects may be fed as well. Feed the Antlions 1-2 times a day.

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