|Copyright: Mark Galea (magal)
|Date Taken: 2007-06-30|
|Camera: Canon EOS 40D, Raynox DCR-150|
|Exposure: f/11, 1/200 seconds|
|Details: Tripod: Yes (Fill) Flash: Yes|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2007-10-29 12:14|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
This posting is again a shot captured at the beginning of Summer. I had been out very early to photograph the dawn and after sun-up. on my way to breakfast I decided to 'have a look' in a patch of shrubs and maquis close by. It turned out to be a good idea as I returned home with quite a few good macros - goes to prove that it always pays to lug your gear around!
Antlions are a family of insects in the order Neuroptera, classified as Myrmeleontidae (sometimes spelled as Myrmeleonidae), from the Greek "myrmex", meaning "ant", and "leo(n)", meaning "lion"; the most known genus is Myrmeleo. Strictly speaking the term antlion applies to the larval form of the members of this family. Antlions are worldwide in distribution, most common in arid and sandy habitats, and can be fairly small to very large (wingspan range of 2-15 cm). Antlions are omnivorous. The antlion larvae eat ants and other insects, while the adult antlion eats pollen and nectar.
The antlion larva is often called a "doodlebug". One theory is that it gets this name from the odd winding, spiralling trails it leaves in the sand while looking for a good location to build its trap. These trails look like someone has doodled in the sand.
The adult antlion has two pairs of long, narrow, multi-veined wings in which the apical veins enclose regular oblong spaces, and a long, slender abdomen. Although they greatly resemble dragonflies or damselflies, they belong to an entirely different order of insects. Antlions are easily distinguished from damselflies by their longer, prominent, apically clubbed antennae and different pattern of wing venation. They also are very feeble fliers and are normally found fluttering about in the night, in search of a mate. The adult is rarely seen in the wild because it is typically active only in the evening.
Having read the above description on Wikipedia, I realized how lucky I have been to have encountered this specimen, which I photographed with my usual technique - camera on monopod, in manual focus. F11 to gain an adequate DOF with the Raynox up front and fill in flash to gain an acceptable shutter speed.
The use of flash on this insect brings out incredible patterns in the eyes. These do not show up if the insect is photographed in natural light - must be the insect form of red eye effect!
Thanks for watching,
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