Ant Lions

We took a geology tour in Mohonk, where Naturalist Michael explained the nature of the lake Mohonk (it’s a glacier lake that formed in the crack between two cliff walls, and is actually super deep – 60 feet!), geology samples of the rocks that surround the lake and other cool bits.

While we were walking around the lake, he stopped and pointed at little inverted cone-shaped holes in the ground looking like this:

And asked if anyone knew what they were. Do you know what they are?

They are ant lion traps! Ant lions are little bugs that sit at the bottom of the cone and sense movement when ants fall into the trap. Then they immediately grab the poor ant and have it for dinner.

Can you see them? Yes! Michael said that he catches them by taking a small stick and imitating an ant falling into the trap, then sometimes (like 1 out of 50 times) they would grab on to the stick. I remember a better way to catch them from when I was a kid: we just used to blow into the sand cone until all the sand blew away and you can see this little guy sitting there. Some people suggest scooping the sand cone out with a spoon and sifting through it on the palm of you hand.

I know it’s a random topic but I thought it was cool that such a funny creature exists.

A famous Russian/Finnish cartoon about Moomie Trolls has a story about little moomie trolls catching an ant lion and placing it into a magic hat, which turns the ant lion into a hedgehog. Here’s an illustration from the book:

Cute, isn’t it?

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