oa African Entomology - Ecological aspects of pitbuilding and non-pitbuilding antlions (Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae) in the Kalahari



The spatial distribution of the pitbuilding antlion Cueta sp., and the non-pitbuilders Furgella intermedia Markl and Palpares annulatus Stitz was correlated with environmental temperatures, prey abundance and vegetation, over six seasons from 1990-1992. Antlion larvae in the Kalahari migrated vertically in the sand at high sand-surface temperatures. They restricted their activity to the cooler parts of the day and were more abundant in the shade than in sunny areas. These behavioural patterns were similar to those reported for antlion species living in cooler regions. It is suggested that the depth to which the antlion larvae migrated is dependent upon prevailing environmental conditions. At high sand temperatures no differences were found between the vertical migration patterns of pitbuilders and non-pitbuilders. Prey densities and richness fluctuated between the different seasons. It is suggested that overlap in microhabitat (preference for shade) and activity patterns of antlion larvae and their prey, enhance prey capture in myrmeleontid larvae.


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