The feeding ecology of the pit-making ant lion larva,Myrmeleon bore: Feeding rate and species composition of prey in a habitat

Research paper by Toshiaki Matsura

Indexed on: 01 Apr '86Published on: 01 Apr '86Published in: Ecological Research


The prey species composition and feeding rate of the pit-making ant lion larva,Myrmeleon bore Tjeder, which inhabits open sandy areas, were examined. Not less than 30 prey species, most of which were ants, were collected during a research period of 1.5 years. First instar larvae most often (81.1%) captured ants. Although 3rd instar larvae captured larger-sized prey than individuals of any other instar, they also captured small prey. The feeding rate of 3rd instar larvae was estimated by using the frequency of observed predation (FOP; (no. of ant lions handling a prey)/(total no. of pits observed)), the prey-handling time and the rhythm of daily foraging activity. FOP ofM. bore larvae was constant on the whole from spring to autumn. It was estimated that each captured 1.25 prey per day on average during this period. This estimate, however, was the feeding rate for days on which there was no rain. Assuming that the larvae cannot capture prey due to pit destruction when there is more than 10 mm of rainfall per day, the figure was reduced to 1.03 prey/day. The estimated feeding rate was evaluated with reference to larval foraging behavior.