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Lacewing larva ?

Neuropterine larva

Description:

Free living larva with a broad, flattened, soft body tapering towards the rear and with compact but powerful-looking, pincer-like jaws at the front end; about 15mm long and dull brown in colour.

Habitat:

lightly trampled area near cattle pens supporting weedy vegetation which is drying up, on sandy soil

Notes:

I only saw this little ugly critter by chance while chasing after a small grasshopper. As soon as the larva realised it had been seen it buried itself very rapidly by burrowing backwards at a 45 degree angle into the sand then moved a few inches away, still underground and then surfaced again, a quick shot and it was gone again. I suspect this is a type of lacewing larva rather than an antlion as the latter tend to have jaws which are widely spread

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2 Comments

C.Sydes
C.Sydes 8 years ago

Thanks Johan, I was basing my assumption on the good old SA Insect book again where the only antlion larvae pics showed wide spreading jaws while the 'unidentified nemopterine larva ' referred to under Nemia costalis had the shorter incurving jaws like my specimen

Johan Heyns
Johan Heyns 8 years ago

Hi C, this is the larval stage of the antlion. Normally this sits at the bottom of a small cone in the sand waiting for an ant to fall in.

C.Sydes
Spotted by
C.Sydes

Limpopo, South Africa

Spotted on Mar 17, 2013
Submitted on Mar 24, 2013

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