Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods) ➔ Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods) ➔ Class Insecta (Insects) ➔ Order Neuroptera (Net-winged insects) ➔ Family Myrmeleontidae (Ant lions)
Euroleon nostras (Geoffroy in Fourcroy, 1785)
Euroleon europeus (McLachlan, 1873) | Euroleon nostras regius Navás, 1919 | Euroleon nostras regius Navás, 1919 | Formicaleo nostras Geoffroy in Fourcroy, 1785 | Hemerobius formicaleo Linnaeus, 1758 | Hemerobius formicaleonis Linnaeus, 1746 | Myrmeleon europeus McLachlan, 1873 | Myrmeleon formicaleo (Linnaeus, 1758) | Myrmeleon nostras (Geoffroy in Fourcroy, 1785) | Myrmeleon nostras regius (Navás, 1919) |
Distribution:Europe to the Caucasus; Morocco.
Habitat:Preferred in sandy areas.
Description:Length approx. 24 - 30 mm; body narrow and long; antennae short, club-like thickened at the end; wingspan 50 - 66 mm; forewings and hindwings narrow, transparent with small brown spots.
Similar species:Euroleon nostras is the only species of the genus Euroleon in Europe.
Spotted wings with a characteristic eye pattern are also found in Dendroleon pantharinus, which lives in dry oak forests. The wings of the Central European representatives of the genus Myrmeleon are unspotted.
Biology:The adults of Euroleon nostras fly from June to September. Their average lifespan is about 20 - 25 days. They are nocturnal and hide in the vegetation during the day. After mating, females prefer to lay their eggs individually or in small groups in rain sheltered areas in the upper layer of sandy soils.
After hatching, the larvae (ant lions) develop in dry sand. They dig small funnel-shaped traps and lurk at their bottom for prey. Ants and other small arthropods that fall into the trap slide with the loose sand to the bottom of the funnel and cannot climb out again due to the loose surface. The ant lion injects poison and enzymes into its prey with its powerful mandibles and sucks the pray out afterwards. If the population density of the larvae is too high, cannibalism can occur. Also the females of Euroleon nostras live dangerously. They can be captured by larvae of their own species when laying eggs near funnel traps. The larvae overwinter and pupate in a cocoon in the sand. In summer the adults of the new generation hatch.
Note:The antlion lacewing flew into the apartment at night through the open balcony door and sat at the curtain the next morning. In the afternoon I woke it up carefully and brought it outside. I probably owe this unusual visit to the existence of a sandbox in the meadow in front of my balcony.
References, further reading, links:
- Oswald J.D. (2019). LDL Neuropterida Species of the World (version Jul 2018). In: Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life, 2019 Annual Checklist (Roskov Y., Ower G., Orrell T., Nicolson D., Bailly N., Kirk P.M., Bourgoin T., DeWalt R.E., Decock W., Nieukerken E. van, Zarucchi J., Penev L., eds.). Digital resource at www.catalogueoflife.org/annual-checklist/2019. Species 2000: Naturalis, Leiden, the Netherlands. ISSN 2405-884X.
- Michael Chinery: Pareys Buch der Insekten: über 2000 Insekten Europas, Verlag Kosmos, 2004, 326 Seiten, ISBN 3440099695, 9783440099698.