Monday, October 03, 2005

Pits, pits pits, doodlebug, antlion!!!

We were recently mistified by little (approx. 3/4"-1 1/2") neat little conical pits under our small hinoki tree. At first I thought it was where birds took a dust bath but the pits were too small and close together. We though no more about it but a few days ago, looking at the pits and still puzzled we noticed some movement in the bottom of the pit. Looking closer we could see that dirt and sand flicked into the air. I seemed to remember seeing something about little pits on one of the PBS shows probably "Nature" and miraculously dredged up antlion aka doodlebug from my increasingly dim brain. Googling antlion confirmed my hunch.

There are many interesting websites on this fascinating little insect and you can even buy them 3 for $9.99 at one site. It would make a great science project for grade school kids. However in Germany the antlion is almost extinct and the Parks and Recreation Service in the U.S. prohibits removing them from the habitat so they may be quite rare? We feel extremely fortunate that they have chosen a portion of our yard for their home. The link shows a very good picture of the antlion but check out the other more extensive websites for more information.

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