Foraging in the ant-lionMyrmeleon mobilis hagen 1888 (neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae): Behavioral flexibility of a sit-and-wait predator

Research paper by Thomas Eltz

Indexed on: 01 Jan '97Published on: 01 Jan '97Published in: Journal of insect behavior


The relative effects of foraging benefits (food intake) and costs (disturbance = pit destruction) on growth rate and foraging behavior of larvae of the ant-lionMyrmeleon mobilis were investigated. In a laboratory experiment second-instar larvae were subjected to combinations of three rates of feeding and three rates of disturbance. Pit relocations were generally rare but occurred more often in starved larvae. Disturbance rate had no significant effect on pit relocation rate. Feeding rate was a major determinant of the energy allocated in pit construction and maintenance (positive relationship). In a second experiment third-instar larvae encountered changing rates of disturbance. Pit size was reduced as a response to increased rates of disturbance. Disturbance had no detectable effect on growth. In general,M. mobilis larvae were cost-conservative, foragers.