J. Bio. Env. Sci.5(4), 511-519, October 2014
In tropics, immature antlions (Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae) dig their pits in many type of soils. Those pits are easily found during dry season and even in rainy season in dry places close to houses. To understand how do antlion larvae construct their funnel-shaped pit, observations had been made on the 2 most present pit digging antlions of the Sudano guinean and the Sudano sahelian regions of Cameroon: Myrmeleon obscurus (RAMBUR, 1842) and Hagenomyia tristis (WALKER, 1853). Description of the pit digging behavior pointed out two main complementary frequently observed steps, the digging of the soil and the removal of the dust. Moreover, scanning of the body wall of the aged antlion larvae or their exuviae elicits the diversity of body wall structures involved in pit construction. Thick setae occurring mainly on the abdominal segment IX are used in digging the soil. In M. obscurus, these digging setae are more efficient because they have setal membrane enhancing their mobility. Long and thin setae group in clusters along each side of abdominal segments have the task to excavate the dust by a spiraling backwards motion. Any of the abdominal segment from I to VIII carries a pair of 4 clusters by its side, and no excavating seta is found on the segment IX.
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