Saturday, August 28, 2010

Memories and Ant Lions

Memories. I love sharing special things with my children. I like to tell them about the crazy adventures my siblings and I had (or created) as a child. I like doing things with them like collecting cicada skins and squeezing the buds on a crepe myrtle to make them bloom and catching ant lions.

Mr. Big
Ant lions are so interesting – I like using a blade of grass to disturb their home and watch them throw sand to rebuild it. So, the little guys and I went out yesterday afternoon and caught a couple of ant lions. Little boys are not very patient and ant lions do not build very fast when those little boys are blowing on the dirt and ‘helping’ the ant lions by digging in the sand. So, leave those ant lions alone overnight and …
Two ant lion funnels! At the top of the picture is Mr. Big's funnel and the small, shallow one at the bottom of the photos was made by Wanderlust.

Black ant struggling at the bottom of Wanderlust's home. Of course Wanderlust was not at home, so we "rescued" him from the funnel and put him on a path straight to Wanderlust!
Now to feed them. Sure, ant lions eat ants - that part is easy enough, but these ant lions are INSIDE my house and as far as I can tell, ants are NOT! So Kirk and FRitW went outside with explicit instructions to catch no more than TWO ants and definitely not fire ants! So a quick return with two tiny live black ants and one tiny dead black ant and we were in business. The first ant we shook in ended up right at the bottom of the smaller ant lion funnel, but that ant lion was not at home. The second ant took a bit more work and some chasing on the kitchen table before it ended up in the larger ant lion funnel where to the delight of our bloodthirsty crew it was promptly caught and eaten!
See those two dark lines at the bottom of the funnel? Those are his pinchers, spread open.  The tiny ant is actually touching the pincher on the left in the picture.

Then we noticed movement in the bowl and found the first ant lion just cruising around checking out the scenery. We also noticed two live ants. Wait! Two? Yep, turns out that dead black ant just wasn’t so dead! Ant #1 had been freed from the empty ant lion funnel and was cruising around headed for the same scenery Wanderlust Ant Lion was enjoying, but Mr. Not So Dead Ant was free and out of danger. So, we pushed him into Big Ant Lion’s funnel. Immediately Big Ant Lion attacked! Whoo-ee! We thought we knew why this guy was so big, until…he threw it back out of his funnel! These ant lions can throw things pretty far. I guess one ant is enough and he didn’t want this ant messing up his funnel. Or maybe he is watching his waist line?
Enjoying the show!

The single living ant has disappeared, hopefully into the stomach of Wanderlust or Mr. Big and not into my kitchen. Tomorrow, we’ll think about returning them to the dirt outside – after one more ant breakfast.


1 comment:

Jill said...

I remember sitting for hours outside playing with those little critters... Everytime I walk past a funnel, I still want to just sit down and play!